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Note for Technicians. A complete representation of 
the play as printed for the first time in this edition is tech- 
nically possible only on the cinema screen or on stages 
furnished with exceptionally elaborate machinery. For 
ordinary theatrical use the scenes separated by rows of 
asterisks are to be omitted. 

In the dialogue an e upside down indicates the indefinite 
vowel, sometimes called obscure or neutral, for which, 
though it is one of the commonest sounds in English 
speech, our wretched alphabet has no letter. 







Constahle & Company Ltd 

London W.C.z 


Longmans, Green & Company 



Longmans, Green & Company Ltd 


First published 1920 

Reprinted as a separate play j times 

Reprinted igSj 



A Professor of Phonetics 

As will be seen later on, Pygmalion needs, not a preface, but a 
sequel, which I have supplied in its due place. 

The English have no respect for their language, and will not 
teach their children to speak it. They cannot spell it because they 
have nothing to spell it with but an old foreign alphabet of which 
only the consonants — and not all of them — have any agreed 
speech value. Consequently no man can teach himself what it 
should sound like from reading it; and it is impossible for an 
Englishman to open his mouth without making some other 
Englishman despise him. Most European languages are now 
accessible in black and white to foreigners: English and French 
are not thus accessible even to Englishmen and Frenchmen. The 
reformer we need most today is an energetic phonetic enthusiast: 
that is why I have made such a one the hero of a popular play. 

There have been heroes of that kind crying in die wilderness 
for many years past. When I became interested in the subject 
towards the end of the eighteen-seventies, the illustrious Alex- 
ander Melville Bell, the inventor of Visible Speech, had emigrated 
to Canada, where his son invented the telephone; but Alexander 
J. Ellis was still a London patriarch, with an impressive head 
always covered by a velvet skull cap, for which he would 
apologize to public meetings in a very courtly manner. He and 
Tito Pagliardini, another phonetic veteran, were men whom it 
was impossible to dislike. Henry Sweet, then a young man, 
lacked their sweetness of character: he was about as conciliatory 
to conventional mortals as Ibsen or Samuel Buder. His great 
ability as a phonetician (he was, I think, the best of them all at his 
job) would have entided him to high official recognition, and 
perhaps enabled him to popularize his subject, but for his 
Satanic contempt for all academic dignitaries and persons in 
general who thought more of Greek than of phonetics. Once, 
in the days when the Imperial Institute rose in South Kensing- 


ton, and Joseph Chamberlain was booming the Empire I in- 

arride tm s"^ °' ' '^\''"« '"™''''>' -"- '° -m^i Son a„ 
article from Sweet on the imperial importance of his subiect 
When .t arrived, it contained nothing but a savagely derisive 
attack on a professor of language and lifcrature whosfcha.r W 
egarded as proper to a phonetic expert only. The ar ,c bdng 
hbellous, had to be returned as impossible; and I had to reluTcf 
n>y dream of dragging its author into the limelight. WhenI m« 
hm afterwards, for the first time for many year! I fZn ' 
astonishment that he, who had been a .uitl Sb y7r t Ibll 
young man, had actually managed by sheer scorn to a" 
personal appearance until he had become a sort of walking re 
pud,at,on of O.vford and all its traditions. It must have b^n" 

called a Readership of phonetics there. The future of nhonetict 
rests probably with his pupils, who all swore by him but not 
mg could bring the man himself into any sort of comp ian e Tid, 
the university to which he nevertheless dung by divi, r ghTfn 

any, include some satires that may be published without too 

least an tllnatured man: very much die opposite, I should say 

t:e:o7r"ab1d"°h"''" '""' ^'^"^= ^^ "'''"' ^" ^l^^'- ^*° 
were not rabid phoneticians were fools 

siomoXr''" ^"Z ""T ™" "''°^"''' '" ™y *!'<• ^" 'he allu- 
s.ontotheCurrentShorthandin which he used to write postcards 
It may be acquired from a four and sixpenny manual 'pub if 
by the Clarendon Press. The postcards which Mrs Higgins de- 
cries are such as I have received from Sweet. I wouldlc ph r 

mant I "a ^ \-'^-y.™;l<' «P-ent by ,.rr, and a Frencb- 
rn n by ,,„, ^ j ,hen write demanding with some heat what on 
earth It meant Sweet, wath boundless contempt for my stupidity 
would reply that it not only meant but obviously was tl,e word 
Result, as no odler word containing that sound,'l„d capabrof 

earth. That less expert mortals should require fuller indications 


was beyond Sweet's patience. Therefore, though the whole 
point of his Current Shorthand is that it can express every sound 
in the language perfecdy, vowels as well as consonants, and that 
your hand has to make no stroke except the easy and current ones 
with which you write m, n, and u, 1, p, and q, scribbling them at 
whatever angle comes easiest to you, his unfortunate determina- 
tion to make this remarkable and quite legible script serve also 
as a shorthand reduced it in his own practice to the most in- 
scrutable of cryptograms. His true objective was the provision of 
a full, accurate, legible script for our language; but he was led 
past that by his contempt for the popular Pitman system of 
shorthand, which he called the Pitfall system. The triumph of 
Pitman was a triumph of business organization: there was a 
weekly paper to persuade you to learn Pitman: there were cheap 
textbooks and exercise books and transcripts of speeches for you 
to copy, and schools where experienced teachers coached you 
up to the necessary proficiency. Sweet could not organize his 
market in that fashion. He might as well have been the Sybil who 
tore up the leaves of prophecy that nobody would attend to. 
The four and sixpenny manual, mostly in his lithographed hand- 
writing, that was never vulgarly advertized, may perhaps some 
day be taken up by a syndicate and pushed upon the public as 
The Times pushed the Encyclopaedia Britannica; but until then 
it will certainly not prevail against Pitman. I have bought three 
copies of it during my lifetime; and I am informed by the 
publishers that its cloistered existence is still a steady and healthy 
one. I actually learned the system two several times; and yet the 
shorthand in which I am writing these lines is Pitman's. And the 
reason is, that my secretary cannot transcribe Sweet, having been 
perforce taught in the schools of Pitman. In America I could use 
the commercially organized Gregg shorthand, which has taken a 
hint from Sweet by making its letters writable (current, Sweet 
would have called them) instead of having to be geometrically 
drawn like Pitman's; but all these systems, including Sweet's, 
are spoilt by making them available for verbatim reporting, in 
which complete and exact spelling and word division are im- 
B - 197 


possible. A complete and exact phonetic script is neither practic- 
able nor necessary for ordinary use; but if we enlarge our alphabet 
to the Russian size, and make our spelling as phonetic as Spanish 
the advance will be prodigious. ' 

Pygmalion Higgins is not a portrait of Sweet, to whom the 
adventure of Eliza Doolitde would have been impossible; still 
as will be seen, there are touches of Sweet in the play. With 
Higgms's physique and temperament Sweet might have set the 
Thames on fire. As it was, he impressed himself professionally on 
Europe to an extent that made his comparative personal obscur- 
ity, and the failure of Oxford to do justice to his eminence, a 
puzzle to foreign specialists in his subject. I do not blame Oxford 
because I think Oxford is quite right in demanding a certain 
social amenity from its nurslings (heaven knows it is not exorbi- 
tant m Its requirements!); for although I well know how hard it 
IS for a man of genius with a seriously underrated subject to main- 
tain serene and kindly relations with tlie men who underrate it 
and who keep all the best places for less important subjects which 
they profess without originality and sometimes widiout much 
capacity for them, still, if he overwhelms them with wrath and 
disdain, he cannot expect them to heap honors on him. 

Of die later generations of phoneticians I know little. Among 
them towered Robert Bridges, to whom perhaps Higgins may 
owe his Miltonic sympathies, though here again I must disclaim 
all portraiture. But if the play makes the public aware that there 
are such people as phoneticians, and diat they are among the most 
important people in England at present, it will serve its turn. 

I wish to boast that Pygmalion has been an extremely successful 
play, both on stage and screen, all over Europe and North 
America as well as at home. It is so intensely and deliberately 
didactic, and its subject is esteemed so dry, that I delight in 
throwing it at the heads of die wiseacres who repeat the parrot 
cry that art should never be didacdc. It goes to prove my 
contention diat great art can never be anything else. 

Finally, and for die encouragement of people troubled widi 
accents that cut them off from all high employment, I may add 



that the change wrought by Professor Higgins in the flower-girl 
is neither impossible nor uncommon. The modern concierge's 
daughter who fulfils her ambition by playing the Queen of Spain 
in Ruy Bias at the Theatre Frangais is only one of many thou- 
sands of men and women who have sloughed off their native 
dialects and acquired a new tongue. Our West End shop assist- 
ants and domestic servants are bi-lingual. But the thing has to be 
done scientifically, or the last state of the aspirant may be worse 
than die first. An honest slum dialect is more tolerable than the 
attempts of phonetically untaught persons to imitate the plu- 
tocracy. Ambitious flower-girls who read tliis play must not 
imagine that they can pass themselves oflf as fine ladies by 
untutored imitation. They must learn their alphabet over again, 
and different, from a phonetic expert. Imitation will only make 
them ridiculous. 



London at 11.15 p.m. Torrents of heavy summer rain. Cab 
whistles blowing frantically in all directions. Pedestrians running for 
shelter into the portico of St Paul's church (not IVrens cathedral but 
Inigo Jones's church in Covent Garden vegetable market), among 
them a lady and her daughter in evening dress. All are peering out 
gloomily at the rain, except one man with his back turned to the rest, 
wholly preoccupied with a notebook in which he is writing. 

The church clock strikes the first quarter. 

THE DAUGHTER {in the space between the central pillars, close to 
the one on her left] I'm getting chilled to the bone. What can 
Freddy be doing all this time? He's been gone twenty minutes. 

THE MOTHER [on her daughter's right] Not so long. But he ought 
to have got us a cab by this. 

A BYSTANDER [on the lady s right] He wont get no cab not until 
half-past eleven, missus, when they come back after dropping 
their theatre fares. 

THE MOTHER. But we must have a cab. We cant stand here until 

half-past eleven. It's too bad. 

THE BYSTANDER. Well, it aint my fault, missus. 

THE DAUGHTER. If Freddy had a bit of gumption, he would 
have got one at the theatre door. 

THE MOTHER. What could he have done, poor boy.> 

THE DAUGHTER. Odicr people got cabs. Why couldnt he} ^ 

Freddy rushes in out of the rain from the Southampton Street side, 
and comes between them closing a dripping umbrella. He is a young 
man of twenty, in evening dress, very wet round the ankles. 

THE DAUGHTER. Well, havnt you got a cab? 

FREDDY. Theres not one to be had for love or money. 

THE MOTHER. Oh, Freddy, there must be one. You cant have 

tried. , 

THE DAUGHTER. It's too tircsomc. Do you expect us to go and 

get one ourselves? 

FREDDY. 1 tell you dieyre all engaged. The rain was so sudden: 



"o° Cht:^' S"ot w '^'T'' ^' '° "■'^ ^ -»• I- tee. 
cthe, a„d',S°re\^, «/-,, . Ludga. C.c.s .he 

FREDDY. There wasnt one at Trafalgar Square 
THE DAUGHTER. Did you try' ^ 

f-REDDY. I tried as far as Clearing Cross Station D,'^ 
pect me to walk to Hammersmith' "^ y°" ^''- 

THE DAUGHTER. You havnt tried at all 
THE MOTHER. You really are very hebless Fr.^^ r- 
and dont come back until'vou have foTnd 'c^r '^ ''° ^^""^ 
FREDDY. I shall simply get soaked for nothtng 

girl u,ho h hurrying in for shehlr t I T ""'' " A"^" 

h-nis. A Uin,i^JJ^i;],:l'^'^^ K^f^ngh^r out of her 


dear "°"" °""- ^^^ *-' Freddy: look wh> y' gowin. 

FREDDY. Sorry [/Je r:/^/^^^ off] 

the dust and sotoflfnd'' 77 '''',' '"" '""« ^^^ -/'"-^'^ 

^^r hair JeZ^hintlXdr '^ '^"" '''" '^''^'^^• 
«,.ra/. She ^earsasholltt '" T'"^ '"'"' "" ^"''^'y ^- 

Jon. Her Sooi .re ^^^t'^^r ^tlt'^r 

something to be desire/ , u ,""' "' ''""' """''''""' '"^^" 

g destred; and she needs the services of a denttst]. 


THE MOTHER. How do you know that my son's name is Freddy, 

THE FLOWER GIRL. Ow, ecz ys-ooa san, is e? Wal, fewd dan y' 
da-ooty bawmz a madier should, eed now bettem to spawl a pore 
gel's flahrzn than ran awyadiaht pyin. Will ye-oo py me f'them? 
[Here, with apologies, this desperate attempt to represent her dialect 
without a phonetic alphabet must be abandoned as unintelligible out- 
side London]. 

THE DAUGHTER. Do nothing of the sort, mother. The idea ! 

THE MOTHER. Please allow me, Clara. Have you any pennies.'' 

THE DAUGHTER. No. Ive nothing smaller than sixpence. 

THE FLOWER GIRL [hopefully] I can give you change for a 
tanner, kind lady. 

THE MOTHER [to Clara] Give it to me. [Clara parts reluctantly]. 
Now [to the girl] This is for your flowers. 

THE FLOWER GIRL. Thank you kindly, lady. 

THE DAUGHTER. Make her give you the change. These things 
are only a penny a bunch. 

THE MOTHER. Do hold your tongue, Clara. [To the girl] You 
can keep the change. 

THE FLOWER GIRL. Oh, thank you, lady. 

THE MOTHER. Now tell me how you know that young gentle- 
man's name. 


THE MOTHER. I heard you call him by it. Dont try to deceive 


THE FLOWER GIRL [protesting] Wlio's trying to deceive you? I 
called him Freddy or Charlie same as you might yourself if you 
was talking to a stranger and wished to be pleasant. 

THE DAUGHTER. Sixpence thrown away! Really, mamma, you 
might have spared Freddy that. [She retreats in disgust behind the 

An elderly gentleman of the amiable military type rushes into the 
shelter, and closes a dripping umbrella. He is in the same plight as 
Freddy, very wet about the ankles. He is in evening dress, with a 
light overcoat. He takes the place left vacant by the daughter. 




THE MOTHER [to the gentleman] Oh, sir, is there any sign of its 

THE GENTLEMAN. I'm afraid not. It started worse than ever 
about two minutes ago {he goes to the plinth beside the flower 
girl; puts up his foot on itj and stoops to turn down his trouser 

THE MOTHER. Oh dear ! [She retires sadly and Joins her daughter] 
THE FLOWER GIRL [taking advantage of the military gentleman' s 
proximity to establish friendly relations with him] If it's worse it's a 
sign it's nearly over. So cheer up, Captain; and buy a flower ofl^ 
a poor girl. 

THE GENTLEMAN. I'm sorry. I havnt any change. 

THE FLOWER GIRL. I can give you change, Captain. 

THE GENTLEMAN. For a Sovereign? Ive nothing less 

THE FLOWER GIRL. Gam! Oh do buy a flower off me, Captain. 
I can change half-a-crown. Take diis for tuppence. 

THE GENTLEMAN. Now dont be troublesome: theres a good 
g^rl. [Trying his pockets] I really havnt any change— Stop: heres 
three hapence, if thats any use to you [he retreats to the other 

THE FLOWER GIRL [disappointed, but thinking three halfpence 
better than nothing] Thank you, sir. 

THE BYSTANDER [to the girl] You be careful: give him a flower 
for It. Theres a bloke here behind taking down every blessed 
word youre saying. [All turn to the man who is taking notes]. 

THE FLOWER GIRL [springing up terrified^ I aint done nodiing 
wrong by speaking to the gentleman. Ive a right to sell flowers 
if I keep off the kerb. [Hysterically] I'm a respectable girl: so help 
me, I never spoke to him except to ask him to buy a flower off 


General hubbub, mostly sympathetic to the flower girl, but de- 
Precating her excessive sensibility. Cries of Dont start hollerin. 
Who s hurting you? Nobody's going to touch you. Whats 
the good of fussing? Steady on. Easy easy, etc., come from the 
elderly staid spectators, who pat her comfortingly. Less patient ones 



hid her shut her heady or ask her roughly what is wrong with her. A 
remoter group, not knowing what the matter is, crowd in and in- 
crease the noise with question and answer: Whats the row? What- 
she do? Where is he? A tec taking her down. What! him? Yes: 
him over there: Took money off the gentleman, etc. 

THE FLOWER GIRL [breaking through them to the gentleman, 
crying wildly'] Oh, sir, dont let him charge me. You dunno what 
it means to me. Theyll take away my character and drive me on 
the streets for speaking to gentlemen. They — 

THE NOTE TAKER [coming forward on her right, the rest crowding 
after him] There ! there ! there ! there ! who's hurting you, you silly 
girl? What do you take me for? 

THE BYSTANDER. It's aw rawt: e's a genleman: look at his 
ba-oots. [Explaining to the note taker] She thought you was a 
copper's nark, sir. 

THE NOTE TAKER [ivith quick interest] Whats a copper's nark? 

THE BYSTANDER [inapt at defnition] It's a — well, it's a copper's 
nark, as you might say. What else would you call it? A sort of 

THE FLOWER GIRL [still hysterical] I take my Bible oath I never 
said a word — 

THE NOTE TAKER [overbearing hut good-humored] Oh, shut up, 
shut up. Do I look like a policeman? 

THE FLOWER GIRL [far from reassured] Then what did you 
take down my words for? How do I know whether you took me 
down right? You just shew me what youve wrote about me. 
[The note taker opens his hook and holds it steadily under her nose, 
though the pressure of the mob trying to read it over his shoulders 
would upset a weaker man]. Whats that? That aint proper writing. 
I cant read that. 

THE NOTE TAKER. I can. [Reads, reproducing her pronunciation 
exactly] "Cheer ap, Keptin; n' baw ya flahr orf a pore gel." 

THE FLOWER GIRL [much distressed] It's because I called him 
Captain. I meant no harm. [To the gentleman] Oh, sir, dont let 
him lay a charge agen me for a word like that. You — 

THE GENTLEMAN. Cliarge! I make no charge. [To the note taker] 


Really, sir, if you are a detective, you need not begin protectin<r 
me against molestation by young women unt.l I ask you Any! 
body could see that the girl meant no harm. ^ 

THE BYSTANDERS GENERALLY [demonstraung against poUce es 
peonage] Course they could. What business il it of ^u^ YoJ 
mmd your own affairs. He wants promotion, he doT T,kin^ 

tfT Tfi'- ^'°i''- ^''^' "^-' ^-'l ^ word t^ h.m. '^ Jhtm 
if she d,d. N,ce thing a girl cant shelter from the rain w thou" 
bemg .nsulted, etc., etc., etc. [Ske is conduced ty Ae ZTZ- 
pa:henc demonstrators back to Aer plinth, .here shl,neTkrZt 
and struggles wuh her emotion]. 

,hT rT''°'f- "' "'"' ' '"=■ "^'^ ^ W°°">ing busybody 
thats what he ts. I tell you, look at his ba-oots ^' 


from Sell:;?™" ^""'''"-'^^ ^° """ y^" -y P-P<e come 
THE NOTE TAKER. Never you mind. They did. [To the mD. How 

Z7Z '° '^ "" r '" '-''' ^°" ""''^°- '" Lissoi, G ":: 

leaX r r°'"- IT"""''^ ^^' ''^'' ''"" - "-ere in my 
leaving Lisson Grove.' It wasnt fit for a pig to live in- an-l 1 1,,^ 

.o pay fcur-and-six a week. [/„ tears] o'h'b o- hoo-oo- 
THH NOTE TAKER Live where you like; Lt stop that noise 

VoXv''''"r" ^r "''"'^ ^°-"^' -'"^! he can, touch ^u- 
you have a right to live where you please 

r.,ft'^'!/T" "y^^^'^^^" I'l^rusting himself between the note 

mto the Housmg Question with you, I would 

tefer, W Wte^ .ery lou,.s!,iritedly to herself] I'm a good girl, 

THE NOTE TAKER [promptly] HoxtOn. 

creaT"'"' ^"'"'"^ "''"" '" "" '"" '-kerS performance in- 



THE SARCASTIC ONE [amazed] Well, who said I didnt? Bly me! 
you know everything, you do. 

THE FLOWER GIRL [stii! nursing her sense of injury] Aint no call 
to meddle with me, he aint. 

THE BYSTANDER [to her] Of course he aint. Dent you stand it 

I from him. [To the note taker] See here: what call have you to 

know about people what never offered to meddle with you.^ 

THE FLOWER GIRL. Let him say what he likes. I dont want to 
have no truck witli him. 

THE BYSTANDER. You take US for dirt under your feet, dont 
you.^ Catch you taking liberties with a gendemanl 

THE SARCASTIC BYSTANDER. Yes: tell him where he come from 
if you want to go fortune- telling. 

THE NOTE TAKER. Cheltenham, Harrow, Cambridge, and India. 

THE GENTLEMAN. Quite right. 

Great laughter. Reaction in the note taker's favor. Exclamations 
o/He knows all about it. Told him proper. Hear him tell the toff 
where he come from.'^ etc. 

THE GENTLEMAN. May I ask, sir, do you do this for your living 
at a music hall.-^ 

THE NOTE TAKER. I've thought. of that. Perhaps I shall some 


The rain has stopped; and the persons on the outside of the crowd 
begin to drop off. 

THE FLOWER GIRL [resenting the reaction] He's no gentleman, 
he aint, to interfere with a poor girl. 

THE DAUGHTER [out of patience, pushing her way rudely to the 
front and displacing the gentleman, who politely retires to the other 
side of the pillar] What on earth is Freddy doing? I shall get 
pneumownia if I stay in this draught any longer. 

THE NOTE TAKER [to himself hastily making a note oj her pro^ 
nunciation of'monia''] Earlscourt. 

THE DAUGHTER [violently] Will you please keep your imperti- 
nent remarks to yourself. 

THE NOTE TAKER. Did I say that out loud? I didnt mean to. I 
beg your pardon. Your mother's Epsom, unmistakeably. 



THE MOTHER [ajvandng ietu'een her daughter end the note taker^ 
How^veo, cunous! I was brcugh, up in Largelady Pa^t:] 

THE NOTE TAKER [uproarloudy amused] Ha ! ha ! What a devil of 
a name! Excuse me. [To the daughter] You wan, a cab do you. 
THE DAUGHTER. Dont dare speak to me ^ 

THE MOTHER. Oh please, please, Clara. [Her daughter repudi 

^'''^^^^f^n angry shrug and retires haughtUr].4rshoMt 
so grateful to you, sir, if you found us a cab. [The rtote 7211 

^ueesa.his,!el Oh, thank you. [She joins hi dau^lte^ 
1 he note taker blows a piercing blast 

^ ™^BVsx..o.H. That aint a police whistle: thats a sporting 

THE FLOWER GIRL {still preoccupied with her wounded feelir..s\ 
Hes no nght to take away my character. My character isTe 
same to me as any lady's. ^ 

THE NOTE TAKER. I dont know whether youve noticed if but 
the ram stopped about two minutes ago ' 

us Zn .T'"''- 1 ° '" ^^"- ^^^ '^^"^ y°" -y - before? and 

THE SARCASTIC BYSTANDER. I can tell where you come from 
You come from Anwell. Go back there. 

THE NOTE TAKER {helpfully] i%nwell. 

Thenk you, teacher. Haw haw! So long {he touches his hat M 
mock respect and strolls off]. 

he Z "hrelfr • '"^'""^"^ ^^^^^^ ^^^^ ^^-' «- -"'^ 
THE MOTHER. It's quite fine now, Clara. We can walk to a 
motor bus. Come. {She gathers her skirts above her 7nL and 
hurries off towards the Strand]. 

™ DAUGHTER. But the cab-[^er,..o/^../,o..roA.anWl Qh 
how tiresome! {She follows angrily]. ^ ^^' ' 




All the rest have gone except the note taker, the gentleman, and 
the flower girl, who sits arranging her basket, and still pitying her- 
self in murmurs. , r i v 

THE FLOWER GIRL. Poor girl! Hard enough for her to hve 

without being worrited and chivied. ^ 

THE GENTLEMAN [returning to his former place on the note taker s 
left] How do you do it, if I may ask? 

THE NOTE TAKER. Simply phonetics. The science of speech. 
Thats my profession: also my hobby. Happy is the man wlio can 
make a living by his hobby ! You can spot an Irishman or a York- 
shireman by his brogue. / can place any man within six miles. 1 
can place him within two miles in London. Sometimes widiin two 

''The FLOWER GIRL. Ought to be ashamed of himself, unmanly 

coward 1 

THE GENTLEMAN. But is diere a living in that.'' 
THE NOTE TAKER. Oh yes. Quite a fat one. This is an age of 
upstarts. Men begin in Kentish Town with £So a year, and end 
in Park Lane with a hundred thousand. They want to drop 
Kentish Town; but they give themselves away every time they 
open their mouths. Now I can teach them— 

THE FLOWER GIRL. Let him mind his own business and leave a 

^°?HE NOTE TAKER [explosively] Woman: cease this detestable 
boohooing instantly; or else seek the shelter of some other place 

of worship. , ^ . , , , . r 

THE FLOWER GIRL [with feeble defiance] Ive a right to be here if 

I like, same as you. . , 

THE NOTE TAKER. A woman who utters such depressing and 
disgusting sounds has no right to be anywhere-no right to live. 
Remember that you are a human being with a soul and the divme 
gift of articulate speech: that your native language is the language 
of Shakespear and Milton and The Bible; and dont sit there 
crooning like a bilious pigeon. . 

THE FLOWER GIRL [quite overwhelmed, looking up at him in 
mingled wonder and deprecation without daring to raise her head\ 



Ah-ah-ah-ow-ow-ow-oo ! 

.o™.'. r^""" -"^^^^ yhipping out his book] Heavens! what a 
sound! [He writes^ then holds out the book and reads, reproducing 
her vowels exactly] Ah-ah-ah-ow-ow-ow-oo > ^ 

Wry/'^'/n r "' P^^^ ^-^ ^^^ /'-A-a.c., and laughing in 
spite oj herself] Garn ! ^ 

THE NOTE TAKER. You See this creaturewith her kerbstone Eng- 

days. Well, s,r, m hree months I could pass that girl off as a duch- 
ess at an ambassador's garden party. I could even get her a place 
as lady s maid or shop assistant, which requires better English 
THE FLOWER GIRL. What's that you say> ^ 

THE NOTE TAKER. Yes, you squashed cabbage leaf, vou dis- 
grace to the noble architecture of these columns, you iCn e 

of Sheba. {To the Gentleman] Can you believe that^ 

THE GENTLEMAN. I am Colonel Pickering. Who are you^ 
ver™ATph™^- "^"^^ "^^^^-' -^- of Higgins's Uni. 

PICKERING [mth enthusiasm] I came from India to meet you 

HiGGiNS. I was going to India to meet you 

PICKERING. Where do you Hve.^ 

HIGGINS. a7A Wimpole Street. Come and see me tomorrow. 

PICKERING. I m at die Carlton. Come with me now and lets 
nave a )aw over some supper. 

HIGGINS. Right you are. 

THE FLOWER GIRL [.. Pickering, as he passes her] Buy a flower 
kmd gentleman. I'm short for my lodging ' 

PICKERING I really havnt any change. I'm sorry [he goes an^ay] 

HiGciNS [shocked at the girl's mendacity] Lia" Yof said y^^ 
could change half-a-crown. ^ 

THE FLOWER GIRL [rising in desperation] You ought to be 


stuffed with nails, you ought. [Flinging the basket at his feet] Take 
the whole blooming basket for sixpence. 

TAe church clock strikes the second quarter. 

HIGGINS [hearing in it the voice of God, rebuking him Jor his Phari- 
saic want of charity to the poor girl] A reminder. [He raises his hat 
solemnly; then throws a handful of money into the basket and follows 

THE FLOWER GIRL [picking up a half-crowTi] Ah-ow-ooh ! [Pick- 
ing up a couple of florins] Aaah-ow-ooh ! [Picking up several coins] 
Aaaaaah-ow-ooh ! [Picking up a half-sovereign] Aaaaaaaaaaaah- 
ow-ooh ! ! ! 

FREDDY [springing out of a taxicab] Got one at last. Hallo! [To 
the girl] Where are the trv'o ladies that were here.'' 

THE FLOWER GIRL. They Walked to the bus when the rain 

FREDDY. And left me with a cab on my hands ! Damnation ! 

THE FLOWER GIRL [with grandeur] Never mind, young man. 
/'m going home in a taxi. [She sails off to the cab. The driver puts 
his hand behind him and holds the door firmly shut against her. 
Quite understanding his mistrust, she shews him her handful of 
money]. A taxi fare aint no object to me, Charlie. [He grins and 
opens the door]. Here. What about the basket? 

THE TAXIMAN. Give it here. Tuppence extra. 

LIZA. No; I dont want nobody to see it. [She crushes it into 
the cab and gets in, continuing the conversation through the window] 
Goodbye, Freddy. 

FREDDY [daiedly raising his hat] Goodbye. 

TAXIMAN. Where to.^ 

LIZA. Bucknam Pellis [Buckingham Palace]. 

TAXIMAN. What d'ye mean — Bucknam Pellis.^ 

LIZA. Dont you know where it is? In the Green Park, where 
the King lives. Goodbye, Freddy. Dont let me keep you standing 
there. Goodbye. 

FREDDY. Goodbye. [He goes]. 

TAXIMAN. Here? \^4iats this about Bucknam Pellis? What 
business have you at Bucknam Pellis? 



LIZA. Of course I havnt none. But I wasnt going to let him 
know that. You drive me home. 
TAXiMAN. And wheres home.^ 
LIZA. Angel Court, Drury Lane, next Meiklejohn's oil shop. 

TAXIMAN. That sounds more like it, Judy. [He drives off]. 


Let us follow the taxi to the entrance to Angel Court, a 
narrow little archway betu^een two shops, one of them Meikle- 
john's oil shop. When it stops there, Eliza gets out, dragging her 
basket with her. 

LIZA. How much? 

TAXIMAN [indicating the taximeter] Cant you read.'' A shilling. 

LIZA. A shilling for two minutes!! 

TAXIMAN. Two minutes or ten: it's all the same. 

LIZA. Well, I dont call it right. 

TAXIMAN. Ever been in a taxi before.'' 

LIZA [with dignity] Hundreds and thousands of times, young 

TAXIMAN [laughing at her] Good for you, Judy. Keep the 
shilling, darling, with best love from all at home. Good luck! 
[He drives off]. 

LIZA [humiliated] Impidence! 

She picks up the basket and trudges up the alley with it to her 
lodging: a small room with very old wall paper hanging loose in the 
damp places. A broken pane in the window is mended with paper. A 
portrait of a popular actor and a fashion plate of ladies' dresses^ all 
wildly beyond poor Elizas means ^ both torn from newspapers^ are 
pinned up on the wall. A birdcage hangs in the window; but its tenant 
died long ago: it remains as a memorial only. 

These are the only visible luxuries: the rest is the irreducible 
minimum of poverty s needs: a wretched bed heaped with all sorts of 
coverings that have any warmth in them, a draped packing case with 
a basin and jug on it and a little looking glass over it, a chair and 
table, the refuse of some suburban kitchen, and an American alarum 
clock on the shelf above the unused fireplace: the whole lighted with 
a gas lamp with a penny in the slot meter. Rent: four shillings a week. 



Here Eliza, chronically weary, but too excited to go to bed, 
sits, counting her new riches and dreaming and planning what to 
do with them, until the gas goes out, when she enjoys for the 
rirst time the sensation of being able to put in another penny 
without grudging it. This prodigal mood does not extinguish her 
gnawing sense of the need for economy sufficiently to prevent 
her from calculating that she can dream and plan in bed more 
clieaply and warmly than sitting up without a fire. So she rakes 
off her shawl and skirt and adds them to the miscellaneous bed- 
clothes. Tlien she kicks otf her shoes and gets into bed without 
any further change. 


ACT n 

Next day at ii a.m. Higgins's laboratory in VTimpole Street, 
It is a room on the first floor, looking on the street^ and was meant 
for the drawing room. The double doors are in the middle of the 
back wall; and persons entering find in the corner to their right two 
tall file cabinets at right angles to one another against the walls. In 
this corner stands aflat writing-table, on which are a phonograph, a 
laryngoscope, a row of tiny organ pipes with a bellows, a set of lamp 
chimneys for singing flames with burners attached to a gas plug in 
the wall by an indiarubber tube, several tuning-forks of different si^es, 
a life-si^e image of half a human head, shewing in section the vocal 
organs, and a box containing a supply of wax cylinders for the 

Further down the room, on the same side, is a fireplace, with a 
comfortable leather-covered easy-chair at the side of the hearth 
nearest the door, and a coal-scuttle. There is a clock on the mantel- 
piece. Between the fireplace and the phonograph table is a stand for 

On the other side of the central door, to the left of the visitor, is a 
cabinet of shallow drawers. On it is a telephone and the telephone 
directory. The corner beyond, and most of the side wall, is occupied 
by a grand piano, with the keyboard at the end furthest from the 
door, and a bench for the player extending the full length of the key- 
board. On the piano is a dessert dish heaped with fruit and sweets, 
mostly chocolates. 

The middle of the room is clear. Besides the easy-chair, the piano 
bench, and two chairs at the phorwgraph table, there is one stray 
chair. It stands near the fireplace. On the walls, engravings: mostly 
Piranesis and me jio tint portraits. No paintings. 

Pickering is seated at the table, putting down some cards and a 
tuning-fork which he has been using. Higgins is standing up near 
him, closing two or three file drawers which are hanging out. He 
appears in the morning light as a robust, vital, appetising sort of 
man of forty or thereabouts, dressed in a professional-looking black 



frock-coat with a white linen collar and black silk tie. He is of the 
energetic, scientific type, heartily, even violently interested in every- 
thing that can be studied as a scientific subject, and careless about 
himself and other people, including their feelings. He is, in fact, but 
for his years and siie, rather like a very impetuous baby ^'taking 
notice" eagerly and loudly, and requiring almost as much watching 
to keep him out of unintended mischief. His manner varies from 
genial bullying when he is in a good humor to stormy petulance when 
anything goes wrong; but he is so entirely frank and void of malice 
that he remains likeable even in his least reasonable moments. 

HIGGINS \as he shuts the last drawer^ Well, I think thats the 
whole show. 

PICKERING. It's really amazing. I havnt taken half of it in, you 

HIGGINS. Would you like to go over any of it again? 

PICKERING [rising and coming to the fireplace, where he plants 
himself with his back to the fir e\ No, thank you: not now. I'm 
quite done up for this morning. 

HIGGINS [following him, and standing beside him on his left] Tired 
of listening to sounds? 

PICKERING. Yes. It's a fearful strain. I rather fancied myself 
because I can pronounce twenty-four distinct vowel sounds; but 
your hundred and thirty beat me. I cant hear a bit of difference 
between most of diem. 

HIGGINS [chuckling, and going over to the piano to eat sweets] 
Oh, that comes with practice. You hear no difference at first; but 
you keep on listening, and presendy you find theyre all as differ- 
ent as A from B. [Mrs Pearce looks in: she is Higginss house- 
keeper]. Whats the matter? 

MRS PEARCE [hesitating, evidently perplexed] A young woman 
asks to see you, sir. 

HIGGINS. A young woman! What does she want? 

MRS PEARCE. Well, sir, she says youU be glad to see her when 
you know what she's come about. She's quite a common girl, 
sir. Very common indeed. I should have sent her away, only I 



thought perhaps you wanted her to talk into your machines. 
I hope Ive not done wrong; but really you see such queer people 
sometimes — youll excuse me, I'm sure, sir — 

niGGiNS. Oh, thats all right, Mrs Pearce. Has she an interesting 


MRS PEARCE. Oh, something dreadful, sir, really. I dont know 
how you can take an interest in it. 

HiGGiNS [to Pickering] Lets have her up. Shew her up, Mrs 
Pearce [he rushes across to his working table and picks out a cylinder 
to use on the phonograph]. 

MRS PEARCE [only half resigned to it] Very well, sir. It's for you 
to say. [She goes downstairs], 

HIGGINS. This is radier a bit of luck. I'll shew you how I make 
records. We'll set her talking; and I'll take it down first in Bell's 
visible Speech; then in broad Romic; and then we'll get her on 
the phonograph so that you can turn her on as often as you like 
with the written transcript before you. 

MRS PEARCE [returning] This is the young woman, sir. 

The flower girl enters in state. She has a hat with three ostrich 
feathers^ orange, sky-blue, and red. She has a nearly clean apron, 
and the shoddy coat has been tidied a little. The pathos of this deplor- 
able figure, with its innocent vanity and consequential air, touches 
Pickering, who has already straightened himself in the presence of 
Mrs Pearce. But as to Higgins, the only distinction he makes between 
men and women is that when he is neither bullying nor exclaiming to 
the heavens against some feather-weight cross, he coaxes women as 
a child coaxes its nurse when it wants to get anything out of her. 

HIGGINS [brusquely, recognising her with unconcealed disappoint- 
ment, and at once, babylike, making an intolerable grievance of it] 
Why, this is the girl I jotted down last night. She's no use: I\e 
got all the records I want of the Lisson Grove lingo; and I'm 
not going to waste another cylinder on it. [To the girl] Be off 
with you: I dont want you. 

THE FLOWER GIRL. Dont you be so saucy. You aint heard what 
I come for yet. [To Mrs Pearce, who is waiting at the door for 
further instructions] Did you tell him I come in a taxi.'' 



MRS PEARCE. Nonsense, girl! what do you think a gentleman 
like Mr Higgins cares what you came in? 

THE FLOWER GIRL. Oh, we are proud! He aint above giving 
lessons, not him: I heard him say so. Well, I aint come here to 
ask for any compliment^ and if my money's not good enough I 
can go elsewhere. 

HIGGINS. Good enough for what.'' 

THE FLOWER GIRL. Good enough for y9-oo. Now you know, 
dont you? I'm come to have lessons, I am. And to pay for em 
ta-^o: make no mistake. 

HIGGINS [stupent] Well ! ! ! [Recovering his breath with a gasp] 
What do you expect me to say to you? 

THE FLOWER GIRL. Well, if you was a gentleman, you might 
ask me to sit down, I think. Dont I tell you I'm bringing you 

HIGGINS. Pickering: shall we ask this baggage to sit down, or 
shall we throw her out of the window? 

THE FLO^^'ER GIRL {running away in terror to the piano ^ where she 
turns at bay] Ah-ah-oh-ow-ow-ow-oo ! [ Wounded and whimpering] 
I wont be called a baggage when Ive offered to pay like any lady. 

Motionless, the two men stare at her from the other side of the 
room, amazed. 

PICKERING [gently] But what is it you want? 

THE FLOWER GIRL. I Want to be a lady in a flower shop stead 
of sellin at the corner of Tottenham Court Road. But they wont 
take me unless I can talk more genteel. He said he could teach 
me. Well, here I am ready to pay him — not asking any favor — 
and he treats me zif I was dirt. 

MRS PEARCE. How Can you be such a foolish ignorant girl as 
to think you could afford to pay Mr Higgins? 

THE FLOWER GIRL. Why shouldnt I? I know what lessons cost 
as well as you do; and I'm ready to pay. 

HIGGINS. How much? 

THE FLOWER GIRL [coming back to him, triumphant] Now youre 
talking! I thought youd come off it when you saw a chance of 
getting back a bit of what you chucked at me last night. [Confi- 



dentlaHy] Youd had a drop in, hadnt you? 

HIGGINS [peremptorily] Sit down. 

THE FLOWER GIRL. Oh, if youre going to make a compHment 
of it — 

HIGGINS [thundering at her] Sit down. 

MRS PEARCE [severely] Sit down, girl. Do as youre told. 

THE FLOWER GIRL. Ah-ah-ah-ow-ow-oo ! [She stands ^ halj 
rebellious^ half bewildered]. 

PICKERING [very courteous] Wont you sit down.^ [He places the 
stray chair near the hearthrug between himself and Higgins]. 

LIZA [coyly] Dont mind if I do. [She sits down. Pickering returns 
to the hearthrug]. 

HIGGINS. Whats your name? 

THE FLOWER GIRL. Liza Doolittle. 

HIGGINS [declaiming gravely] 

Eliza, EHzabeth, Betsy and Bess, 

They went to the woods to get a bird's nes': 

PICKERING. They found a nest with four eggs in it: 

HIGGINS. They took one apiece, and left three in it. 

They laugh heartily at their own fun. 

LIZA. Oh, dont be silly. 

MRS PEARCE [placing herself behind Eliias chair] You mustnt 
speak to the gentleman like that. 

LIZA. Well, v/hy wont he speak sensible to me? 

HIGGINS. Come back to business. How much do you propose 
to pay me for die lessons? 

LIZA. Oh, I know whats right. A lady friend of mine gets 
French lessons for eighteenpence an hour from a real French 
gentleman. Well, you wouldnt have die face to ask me the same 
for teaching me my own language as you would for French; so 
I wont give more than a shilling. Take it or leave it. 

HIGGINS [walking up and down the room, rattling his keys and 
his cash in his pockets] You know, Pickering, if you consider a 
shilling, not as a simple shilling, but as a percentage of this girl's 
income, it works out as fully equivalent to sixty or seventy 
guineas from a millionaire. 




HIGGINS. Figure it out. A millionaire has about ^^150 a day. 
She earns about half-a-crown. 

LIZA [/laughti/y] Who told you I only — 

HIGGINS [continuing] She offers me two-fifths of her day's in- 
come for a lesson. Two-fifths of a millionaire's income for a day 
would be somewhere about £60. It's handsome. By George, it's 
enormous 1 it's the biggest offer I ever had. 

LIZA [rising, terrified] Sixty pounds! What are you talking 
about.'* I never offered you sixty pounds. Where would I get — 

HIGGINS. Hold your tongue. 

LIZA [weeping] But I aint got sixty pounds. Oh — 

MRS PEARCE. Dont cry, you silly girl. Sit down. Nobody is 
going to toucli your money. 

HIGGINS. Somebody is going to touch you, with a broom- 
stick, if you dont stop snivelling. Sit down. 

LIZA [obeying slowly] Ah-ah-ah-ow-oo-0 ! One would think 
you was my father. 

HIGGINS. If I decide to teach you, I'll be worse than rwo 
fathers to you. Here [he offers her his silk handkerchief] ! 

LIZA. Whats diis for.'' 

HIGGINS. To wipe your eyes. To wipe any part of your face 
that feels moist. Remember: thats your handkerchief; and thats 
your sleeve. Dont mistake the one for the other if you wish to 
become a lady in a shop. 

Zi{a, utterly bewildered, stares helplessly at him. 

MRS PEARCE. It's no use talking to her like diat, Mr Higgins: 
she doesnt understand you. Besides, youre quite wrong: she 
doesnt do it that way at all [she takes the handkerchief]. 

LIZA [snatching it] Here! You give me that handkerchief. He 
gev it to me, not to you. 

PICKERING [laughing] He did. I diink it must be regarded as 
her property, Mrs Pearce. 

MRS PEARCE [resigning herself] Serve you right, Mr Higgins. 

PICKERING. Higgins: I'm interested. What about the ambas- 
sador's garden party? I'll say youre the greatest teacher alive if 



you make that good. I'll bet you all the expenses of the experi- 
ment you cant do it. And I'll pay for the lessons. 

LIZA. Oh, you are real good. Thank you, Captain. 

HiGGiNS [tempted, looking at her] It's almost irresistible. She's 
so deliciously low — so horribly dirty — 

LIZA [protesting extremely] Ah-ah-ah-ah-ow-ow-oo-oo ! ! ! I 
aint dirty: I washed my face and hands afore I come, I did. 

PICKERING. Youre certainly not going to turn her head with 
flattery, Higgins. 

MRS PEARCE [uneasy] Oh, dont say that, sir: theres more ways 
than one of turning a girl's head; and nobody can do it better 
than Mr Higgins, though he may not always mean it. I do hope, 
sir, you wont encourage him to do anything foolish. 

HIGGINS [becoming excited as the idea grows on him] What is 
life but a series of inspired follies.'^ The difficulty is to find them 
to do. Never lose a chance: it doesnt come every day. I shall make 
a duchess of this draggletailed guttersnipe. 

LIZA [strongly deprecating this view of her] Ah-ah-ali-ow-ow-oo ! 

HIGGINS [carried away] Yes: in six months — in three if she 
has a good ear and a quick tongue — I'll take her anywhere and 
pass her off as anything. We'll start today: now! this moment! 
Take her away and clean her, Mrs Pearce. Monkey Brand, if it 
wont come off any other way. Is there a good fire in the kitchen? 

MRS PEARCE [protesting] Yes; but — 

HIGGINS [storming ori] Take all her clothes off and burn them. 
Ring up Whiteley or somebody for new ones. Wrap her up in 
brown paper til diey come. 

LIZA. Youre no gentleman, youre not, to talk of such things. 
I'm a good girl, I am; and I know what the like of you are, I do. 

HIGGINS. We want none of your Lisson Grove prudery here, 
young woman. Youve got to learn to behave like a duchess. 
Take her away, Mrs Pearce. If she gives you any trouble, wallop 

LIZA [springing up and running between Pickering and Mrs 
Pearce for protection] No! I'll call the police, I will. 

MRS PEARCE. But Ivc no place to put her. 



HiGGiNS. Put her in tlie dustbin. 

LIZA. Ali-ali-ah-ow-ow-oo ! 

PICKERING. Oh come, Higgins! be reasonable. 

MRS PEARCE {resolutely] You must be reasonable, Mr Higgins: 
really you must. You cant walk over everybody like this. 

Higgins^ thus scolded^ subsides. The hurricane is succeeded by 
a i^phyr of amiable surprise. 

HIGGINS [with professional exquisiteness of modulation^ I walk 
over even,'body ! My dear Mrs Pearce, my dear Pickering, I never 
had the slightest intention of walking over anyone. All I pro- 
pose is tliat we should be kind to this poor girl. We must help 
her to prepare and fit herself for her new station in life. If I did 
not express myself clearly it was because I did not wish to hurt 
her delicacy, or yours. 

Li^a, reassured, steals back to her chair. 

MRS PEARCE [to Pickering] \X'ell, did }'Ou ever hear anything 
like that, sir.-^ 

PICKERING [laughing heartily] Never, Mrs Pearce: never. 

HIGGINS [patiently] Whats tlie matter? 

MRS PEARCE. Well, die matter is, sir, that you cant take a girl 
up like that as if you were picking up a pebble on the beach. 

HIGGINS. Wliy not,-* 

MRS PEARCE- \^Tiy not! But you dont know anything about 
her. What about her parents? She may be married. ^ 

LIZA. Gam! 

HIGGINS. There! As the girl very properly says, Garn! Married 
indeed! Dont you know that a woman of that class looks a worn ^ 
out drudge of fifty a year after she's married? 

LIZA. Whood marry me? 

HIGGINS [suddenly resorting to the most thrillingly beautiful low 
tones in his best elocutionary style] By George, Eliza, the streets 
will be strewn with the bodies of men shooting themselves for 
your sake before Ive done with you. 

MRS PEARCE. Nonsense, sir. You musmt talk like that to her. 

LIZA [rising and squaring herself determinedly] I'm going away. 
He's off his chump, he is. I dont want no balmies teaching me. 



HIGGINS [wounJeJ in his tenderest point by her insensibility to 
his elocution] Oh, indeed! I'm mad, am I? Very well, Mrs Pearce: 
you neednt order the new clothes for her. Throw her out. 

LIZA [whimpering] Nah-ow. You got no right to touch me. 

MRS PEARCE. You See now what comes of being saucy. [Indicat- 
ing the door] This way, please. 

LIZA [almost in tears] I didnt want no clothes. I wouldnt have 
taken them [she throws away the handkerchief]. I can buy my 
own clothes. 

HIGGINS [deftly retrieving the handkerchief and intercepting her 
on her reluctant way to the door] Youre an ungrateful wicked girl. 
This is my return for offering to take you out of the gutter and 
dress you beautifully and make a lady of you. 

MRS PEARCE. Stop, Mr Higgins. I v/ont allow it. It's you that 
are wicked. Go home to your parents, girl; and tell them to take 
better care of you. 

LIZA. I aint got no parents. They told me I was big enough to 
earn my own living and turned me out. 

MRS PEARCE. Wheres your mother.'' 

LIZA. I aint got no mother. Her that turned me out was my 
sixth stepmother. But I done without them. And I'm a good 
girl, I am. 

HIGGINS. Very well, then, what on earth is all this fuss about? 
The girl doesnt belong to anybody — is no use to anybody but 
me. [He goes to Mrs Pearce and begins coaxing]. You can adopt 
her, Mrs Pearce: I'm sure a daughter would be a great amusement 
to you. Now dont make any more fuss. Take her downstairs; 
and — 

MRS PEARCE. But whats to become of her? Is she to be paid 
anything? Do be sensible, sir. 

HIGGINS. Oh, pay her whatever is necessary: put it down in 
the housekeeping book. [Impatiently] What on earth will she 
want with money? She'll have her food and her clothes. She'll 
only drink if you give her money. 

LIZA [turning on him] Oh you are a brute. It's a lie: nobody 
ever saw the sign of liquor on me. [To Pickering] Oh, sir: youre 



a gentleman: dont let him speak to me like that. 

PICKERING [in good-humored rcmotu trance] Does it occur to 
you, Higgins, that the girl has some feelings? 

HIGGINS [looking critically at her\ Oh no, I dont think so. Not 
any feelings that we need bother about. [Cheerily] Have you, 

LIZA. I got my feelings same as anyone else. 

HIGGINS [to Pickerings reflectively] You see the difficulty? 

PICKERING. Eh? What difficulty? 

HIGGINS. To get her to talk grammar. Tlie mere pronunciation 
is easy enough. 

LIZA. I dont want to talk grammar. I want to talk like a lady 
in a flower-shop. 

MRS PEARCE. Will you please keep to the point, Mr Higgins. 
I want to know on what terms the girl is to be here. Is she to 
have any wages? And what is to become of her when youve 
finished your teaching? You must look ahead a little. 

HIGGINS [impatiently] Whats to become of her if I leave her 
in the gutter? Tell me diat, Mrs Pearce. 

MRS PEARCE. Thats her own business, not yours, Mr Higgins. 

HIGGINS. Well, when Ive done with her, we can throw her 
back into die gutter; and dien it will be her own business again; 
so thats all right. 

LIZA. Oh, youve no feeling heart in you: you dont care for 
nodiing but yourself. [She rises and takes the floor resolutely]. Here! 
Ive had enough of diis. I'm going [making for the door]. You 
ought to be ashamed of yourself, you ought. 

HIGGINS [snatching a chocolate cream from the piano, his eyes 
suddenly beginning to twinkle with mischief] Have some chocolates, 

LIZA [halting, tempted] How do I know what might be in them ? 
Ive heard of girls being drugged by the like of you. 

Higgins whips out his penknife; cuts a chocolate in two; puts one 
half into his mouth and bolts it; and offers her the other half. 

HIGGINS. Pledge of good faith, Eliza. I eat one half: you eat 
the odier. [Liia opens her mouth to retort: he pops the half chocolate 



into it]. You shall have boxes of them, barrels of them, ever}' 
day. You shall live on them. Eh? 

LIZA [w/io has disposed of the chocolate after being nearly choked 
by ii\ I wouldnt have ate it, only I'm too ladylike to take it out 
of my mouth. 

HiGGiNS. Listen, Eliza. I think you said you came in a taxi. 

LIZA. Well, what if I did? Ive as good a right to take a taxi as 
anyone else. 

HIGGINS. You have, Eliza; and in future you shall have as 
many taxis as you want. You shall go up and down and round 
die town in a taxi every day. Think of that, Eliza. 

MRS PEARCE. Mr Higgins: youre tempting the girl. It's not 
right. She should tliink of the future. 

HIGGINS. At her age! Nonsense! Time enough to think of the 
future when you havnt any future to think of. No, Eliza: do as 
this lady does: think of other people's futures; but never think 
of your own. Think of chocolates, and taxis, and gold, and 

LIZA. No: I dont want no gold and no diamonds. I'm a good 
girl, I am. \She sits down again, with an attempt at dignity]. 

HIGGINS. You shall remain so, Eliza, under die care of Mrs 
Pearce. And you shall marry an officer in the Guards, with a 
beautiful moustache: die son of a marquis, who will disinherit 
him for marrying you, but will relent when he sees your beauty 
and goodness — 

PICKERING. Excuse me, Higgins; but I really must interfere. 
Mrs Pearce is quite right. If this girl is to put herself in your 
hands for six months for an experiment in teaching, she must 
understand thoroughly what she's doing. 

HIGGINS. How can she? She's incapable of understanding any- 
thing. Besides, do any of us understand what we are doing? If 
we did, would we ever do it? 

PICKERING. Very clever, Higgins; but not to the present point. 
[To Eliia] Miss Doolittle — 

LIZA [overwhelmed] Ah-ah-ow-oo ! 

HIGGINS, There ! Thats all youll get out of Eliza. Ah-ah-ow-oo ! 



No use explaining. As a military man you ought to know that. 
Give her her orders: thats enough for her. Eliza: you are to 
live here for the next six months, learning how to speak beauti- 
fully, like a lady in a florist's shop. If youre good and do what- 
ever youre told, you shall sleep in a proper bedroom, and have 
lots to eat, and money to buy chocolates and take rides in taxis. 
If youre naughty and idle you will sleep in the back kitchen 
among the black beetles, and be walloped by Mrs Pearce with a 
broomstick. At the end of six months you shall go to Buckingham 
Palace in a carriage, beautifully dressed. If the King finds out 
youre not a lady, you will be taken by the police to the Tower of 
London, where your head will be cut off as a warning to other 
presumptuous flower girls. If you are not found out, you shall 
have a present of seven-and-sixpence to start life with as a lady 
in a shop. If you refuse this offer you will be a most ungrateful 
wicked girl; and the angels will weep for you. [To Pickering] 
Now are you satisfied, Pickering? [To Mrs Pearce] Can I put it 
more plainly and fairly, Mrs Pearce.'^ 

MRS PEARCE [patiently] I think youd better let me speak to 
the girl properly in private. I dont know that I can take charge 
of her or consent to the arrangement at all. Of course I know you 
dont mean her any harm; but when you get what you call 
interested in people's accents, you never think or care what may 
happen to them or you. Come widi me, Eliza. 

HiGGiNS. Thats all right. Thank you, Mrs Pearce. Bundle her 
off to the bath-room. 

LIZA [rising reluctantly and suspiciously] Youre a great bully, 
you are. I wont stay here if I dont like. I wont let nobody wallop 
m.e. I never asked to go to Bucknam Palace, I didnt. I was never 
in trouble with the police, not me. I'm a good girl — 

MRS PEARCE. Dont answer back, girl. You dont understand 
the gentleman. Come with me. [She leads the way to the door, and 
holds it open for Eli^a]. 

LIZA [as she goes out] Well, what I say is right. I wont go near 
the King, not if I'm going to have my head cut off. If Fd known 
what I was letting myself in for, I wouldnt have come here. I 



always been a good girl; and I never offered to say a word to 

him; and I dont owe him notliing; and I dont care; and I wont 

be put upon; and I have my feelings tlie same as anyone else — 

Airs Pearce shuts the door; and Elizas plaints arc no longer 


* i(f if Hi Hf i^ 

Eliza is taken upstairs to tlie tliird floor greatly to her surprise; 
for she expected to be taken down to the scullery. There Mrs 
Pearce opens a door and takes her into a spare bedroom. 

MRS PEARCE. I will have to put you here. Tliis will be your 

LIZA. O-h, I couldnt sleep here, missus. It's too good for the 
likes of me. I should be afraid to touch anything. I aint a duchess 
yet, you know. 

MRS PEARCE. You have got to make yourself as clean as tlie 
room: tlien you wont be afraid of it. And you must call mc Mrs 
Pearce, not missus. [She throws open the door of the dressingroom, 
now moderni:^ed as a hathrooni\. 

LIZA. Gawd! whats diis.^ Is this where you wash clothes.'^ 
Funny sort of copper I call it. 

MRS PEARCE. It is not a copper. This is where we wasli our- 
selves, Eliza, and where I am going to wash you. 

LIZA. You expect me to get into that and wet myself all over! 
Not me. I should catch my death. I knew a woman did it ever>' 
Saturday night; and she died of it. 

MRS PEARCE. Mr Higgins has the gentlemen's bathroom down- 
stairs; and he has a bath every morning, in cold water. 

LIZA. Ugh! He's made of iron, that man. 

MRS PEARCE. If you are to sit with him and the Colonel and 
be taught you will have to do the same. They wont like the smell 
of you if you dont. But you can have tlie water as hot as you like. 
There are two taps: hot and cold. 

LIZA {weeping] I couldnt. I dursnt. Its not natural: it would 
kill me. Ive never had a bath in my life: not what youd call a 
proper one. 

MRS PEARCE. Well, dont you want to be clean and sweet and 



decent, like a lady? You know you cant be a nice girl inside if 
youre a dirty slut outside. 

LIZA. Boohoo!!!! 

MRS PEARCE. Now stop Crying and go back into your room and 
take off all your clothes. Then wrap yourself in this [Taking 
i/own a gown from its peg and handing it to her] and come back to 
me. I will get the bath ready. 

LIZA [all tears] I cant. I wont. I'm not used to it. Ive never 
took off all my clothes before. It's not right: it's not decent. 

MRS PEARCE. Nouscnse, child. Dont you take off all your 
clothes every night when you go to bed? 

LIZA [amazed] No. Why should I? I should catch my death. 
Of course I take off my skirt. 

MRS PEARCE. Do you mean that you sleep in the underclothes 
you wear in the daytime? 

LIZA. What else have I to sleep in? 

MRS PEARCE. You wiU never do that again as long as you live 
here. I will get you a proper nightdress. 

LIZA. Do you mean change into cold things and lie awake 
shivering half the night? You want to kill me, you do. 

MRS PEARCE. I Want to change you from a frowzy slut to a 
clean respectable girl fit to sit with the gentlemen in the study. 
Are you going to trust me and do what I tell you or be thrown 
out and sent back to your flower basket? 

LIZA. But you dont know what the cold is to me. You dont 
know how I dread it. 

MRS PEARCE. Your bed wont be cold here: I will put a hot 
water bottle in it. [Pushing her into the bedroom] Off with you and 

LIZA. Oh, if only I'd a known what a dreadful thing it is to 
be clean I'd never have come. I didnt know when I was well off. 
I — [Mrs Pearce pushes her through the door, but leaves it partly 
open lest her prisoner should take to flight]. 

Mrs Pearce puts on a pair of white rubber sleeves^ and fills the 
bath, mixing hot and cold, and testing the result with the bath ther- 
mometer. She perfumes it with a handful of bath salts and adds a 



palmful of mustard. She then takes a formidable looking long 
handled scrubbing brush and soaps it profusely with a ball of scented 

Eliia comes back with nothing on but the bath gown huddled 
tightly round her, a piteous spectacle of abject terror. 

MRS PEARCE. Now comc along. Take that thing off. 

LIZA. Oh I couldntj Mrs Pearce: I reely couldnt. I never done 
such a thing. 

MRS PEARCE. Nonsense. Here: step in and tell me whether its 
hot enough for you. 

LIZA. Ah-oo! Ah-oo! It's too hot. 

MRS PEARCE [deftly snatching the gown away and throwing Eliia 
down on her back\ It wont hurt you. \She sets to work with the 
scrubbing brush], 

Enid's screams are heartrending. 

Meanwhile the Colonel has been having it out with Higgins 
about Eliza. Pickering has come from the hearth to the chair and 
seated himself astride of it with his arms on tlie back to cross- 
examine him. 

PICKERING. Excuse the straight question, Higgins. Are you a 
man of good character where women are concerned.'' 

HIGGINS [moodily] Have you ever met a man of good character 
where women are concerned. '^ 

PICKERING. Yes: very frequently. 

HIGGINS [dogmatically, lifting himself on his hands to the level i 
of the piano, and sitting on it with a bounce] Well, I havnt. I find 
•J that the moment I let a woman make friends -uith me, she becomes 
jealous, exacting, suspicious, and a damned nuisance. I find that 
the moment I let myself make friends with a woman, I become 
selfish and tyrannical. Women upset everything. When you let 
them into your life, you find tliat the woman is driving at one ' 
thing and youre driving at another. 

PICKERING. At what, for example? 

HIGGINS [coming off the piano restlessly] Oh, Lord knows! I j 
suppose the woman wants to live her own life; and the man wants 



to live his; and each tries to drag the other on to the wrong track. / 
One wants to go north and the other south; and the result is that ; 
both have to go east, though they both hate the east wind. [He 
sits down on the bench at the keyboard^ So here I am, a confirmed i 
old bachelor, and likely to remain so. J 

PICKERING [rising and standing over him gravely] Come, Hig- 
gins! You know what I mean. If I'm to be in this business I shall 
lael responsible for that girl. I hope it's understood that no advan- 
tage is to be taken of her position. 

HIGGINS. What! That thing! Sacred, I assure you. [Rising to 
explain] You see, she'll be a pupil; and teaching would be impos- 
sible unless pupils were sacred. Ive taught scores of American >^ 
millionairesses how to speak English: the best looking women in 
the world. Fm seasoned. They might as well be blocks of wood. 
/ might as well be a block of wood. It's — 

Mrs Pearce opens the door. She has Eliia's hat in her hand. 
Pickering retires to the easy-chair at the hearth and sits down. 

HIGGINS [eagerly] Well, Mrs Pearce: is it all right.'' 

MRS PEARCE [at the door] I just wish to trouble you with a 
word, if I ma}' , Mr Higgins. 

HIGGINS. Yes, certainly. Come in. [She comes forward]. Dont 
burn that, Mrs Pearce. I'll keep it as a curiosity. [He takes the hat]. 

MRS PEARCE. Handle it carefully, sir, please. I had to promise 
her not to burn it; but I had better put it in the oven for a while. 

HIGGINS [putting it down hastily on the piano] Oh! thank you. 
Well, what have you to say to me.^ 

PICKERING. Am I in the way.'' 

MRS PEARCE. Not at all, sir. Mr Higgins: will you please be 
very particular what you say before the girl? 

HIGGINS [sternly] Of course. I'm always particular about what 
I say. Why do you say this to me.'' 

MRS PEARCE [unmoved] No, sir: youre not at all particular when 
youve mislaid anything or when you get a little impatient. Now 
it doesnt matter before me: I'm used to it. But you really must 
not swear before the girl. 

HIGGINS [indignantly] I swear! [Most emphatically] I never 



swear. I detest the habit. "What the devil do you mean? 

MRS PEARCE [stolidly] Thats what I mean, sir. You swear a 
great deal too much. I dont mind your damning and blasting, 
and what the devil and where the devil and who the devil — 

HiGGiNS. Mrs Pearce: this language from your lips! Really! 

MRS PEARCE [not to be put off] — but there is a certain word I 
must ask you not to use. The girl used it herself when she began 
to enjoy the bath. It begins with the same letter as bath. She 
knows no better: she learnt it at her mother's knee. But she must 
not hear it from your lips. 

HIGGINS [loftily] I cannot charge myself with having ever 
uttered it, Mrs Pearce. [She looks at him steadfastly. He adds, 
hiding an uneasy conscience with a judicial air] Except perhaps in a 
moment of extreme and justifiable excitement. 

MRS PEARCE. Only this morning, sir, you applied it to your 
boots, to the butter, and to the brown bread. 

HIGGINS. Oh, that! Mere alliteration, Mrs Pearce, natural to a 

MRS PEARCE. Well, sir, whatever you choose to call it, I beg 
you not to let the girl hear you repeat it. 

HIGGINS. Oh, very well, very well. Is that all.^ 

MRS PEARCE. No, sir. We shall have to be very particular with 
this girl as to personal cleanliness. 

HIGGINS. Certainly. Quite right. Most important. 

MRS PEARCE. I mean not to be slovenly about her dress or 
untidy in leaving things about. 

HIGGINS [going to her solemnly] Just so. I intended to call your 
attention to that. [He passes on to Pickerings who is enjoying the 
conversation immensely]. It is these little things that matter, 
Pickering. Take care of the pence and the pounds will take care 
of themselves is as true of personal habits as of money. [He comes 
to anchor on the hearthrugs with the air of a man in an unassailable 

MRS PEARCE. Ycs, sir. Then might I ask you not to come down 
to breakfast in your dressing-gown, or at any rate not to use it 
as a napkin to the extent you do, sir. And if you would be so 




good as not to eat everytliing off the same plate, and to remember 
not to put the porridge saucepan out of your hand on the clean 
tableclodi, it would be a better example to the girl. You know 
you nearly choked yourself with a fishbone in the jam only last 

HIGGINS [routed from the hearthrug and drifting back to the 
piano"] I may do diese diings sometimes in absence of mind; but 
surely I dont do them habitually. [Angrily] By the way: my 
dressing-go\^Ti smells most damnably of benzine. 

MRS PEARCE. No doubt it does, Mr Higgins. But if you will 
wipe your fingers — 

HIGGINS [yelling] Oh very well, very well: I'll wipe them in 
mv hair in future. 

MRS PEARCE, I hope youre not offended, Mr Higgins. 

HIGGINS [shocked at finding himself thought capable of an un- 
amiable sentiment] Not at all, not at all. Youre quite right, Mrs 
Pearce: I shall be particularly careful before the girl. Is that all? 

MRS PEARCE. No, sir. Might she use some of those Japanese 
dresses you brought from abroad.'' I really cant put her back into 
her old things. 

HIGGINS. Certainly. Anything you like. Is that all.^ 

MRS PEARCE. Thank you, sir. Thats all. [She goes out]. 

HIGGINS. You know, Pickering, that woman has die most 
extraordinary ideas about me. Here I am, a shy, diffident sort of 
man. Ive never been able to feel really grown-up and tremendous, 
like other chaps. And yet she's firmly persuaded that I'm an 
arbitrary overbearing bossing kind of person. I cant account for 

Mrs Pearce returns. 

MRS PEARCE. If you please, sir, the trouble's beginning already. 
Theres a dustman downstairs, Alfred Doolittle, wants to see you. 
He says you have his daughter here. 

PICKERING [rising] Phew! I say! 

HIGGINS [promptly^ Send the blackguard up. 

MRS PEARCE. Oh, very well, sir. [She goes out], 

PICKERING. He may not be a blackguard, Higgins. 



HiGGiNS. Nonsense. Of course he's a blackguard. 

PICKERING. Whether he is or not, Fra afraid we shall have 
some trouble with him. 

HIGGINS [confidently] Oh no; I think not. If theres any trouble 
he shall have it with me, not I with him. And we are sure to get 
something interesting out of him. 

PICKERING. About the girl.^ 
1 HIGGINS. No. I mean his dialect. 


MRS PEARCE [at the door] Doolittle, sir. [She admits Doolittle 
and retires]. 

Alfred Doolittle is an elderly but vigorous dustman^ clad in the 
costume of his profession, including a hat with a hack brim covering 
his neck and shoulders. He has well marked and rather interesting 
features, and seems equally free from fear and conscience. He has a 
remarkably expressive voice, the result of a habit of giving vent to 
his feelings without reserve. His present pose is that of wounded 
honor and stern resolution. 

DOOLITTLE [at the door, uncertain which of the two gentlemen is 
his man] Professor Iggins? 

HIGGINS. Here. Good morning. Sit down. 

DOOLITTLE. Moming, Governor. [He sits down magisterially] I 
come about a very serious matter, Governor. 

HIGGINS [to Pickering] Brought up in Hounslow. Mother 
Welsh, I should think. [Doolittle opens his mouth,amaied. Higgins 
continues] What do you want, Doolittle.-^ 

DOOLITTLE [menacingly] I want my daughter: thats what I 
want. See.'^ 

HIGGINS. Of course you do. Youre her father, arnt you.^ You 
dont suppose anyone else wants her, do you? I'm glad to see you 
have some spark of family feeling left. She's upstairs. Take her 
away at once. 

DOOLITTLE [rising, fear fidfy taken aback] What! 

HIGGINS. Take her away. Do you suppose I'm going to keep 
your daughter for you? 

DOOLITTLE [remonstrating] Now, now, look here, Governor. 



Is this reasonable? Is it fairity to take advantage of a man like 
this? The girl belongs to me. You got her. Where do I come in? 
[He sits down again]. 

HiGGiNS. Your daughter had the audacity to come to my 
house and ask me to teach her how to speak properly so that she 
could get a place in a flower-shop. This gentleman and my house- 
keeper have been here all the time, [Bullying him] How dare you 
come here and attempt to blackmail me? You sent her here on 

DOOLITTLE [protesting] No, Governor. 

HIGGINS. You must have. How else could you possibly 
know that she is here ? 

DOOLITTLE. Dont take a man up like that, Governor. 

HIGGINS. The police shall take you up. This is a plant — a plot 
to extort money by threats. I shall telephone for the police [he 
goes resolutely to the telephone and opens the directory]. 

DOOLITTLE. Have I asked you for a brass farthing? I leave it to 
the gentleman here: have I said a word about money? 

HIGGINS [throwing the book aside and marching down on Doo- 
little with a poser] What else did you come for? 

DOOLITTLE [sweetly] Well, what would a man come for? Be 
human, Governor. 

HIGGINS [disarmed] Alfred: did you put her up to it? 

DOOLITTLE. So help me. Governor, I never did. I take my 
Bible oath I aint seen the girl these two months past. . 

HIGGINS. Then how did you know she was here? 

DOOLITTLE ["most musical, most melancholy"] I'll tell you, 
Governor, if youU only let me get a word in. I'm willing to tell 
you. I'm wanting to tell you. I'm waiting to tell you. 

HIGGINS. Pickering: this chap has a certain natural gift of 
rhetoric. Observe the rhythm of his native woodnotes wild. 
"I'm willing to tell you: I'm wanting to tell you: I'm waiting to 
tell you." Sentimental rhetoric! thats the Welsh strain in him. 
It also accounts for his mendacity and dishonesty. 

PICKERING. Oh, please, Higgins: I'm west countr}' myself. 
[To Doolittle] How did you know the girl was here if you didnt 



send her? 

DOOLiTTLE. It was like this, Governor. The girl took a boy 
in the taxi to give him a jaunt. Son of her landlady, he is. He 
hung about on the chance of her giving him another ride home. 
Well, she sent him back for her luggage when she heard you 
was willing for her to stop here. I met the boy at die corner of 
Long Acre and Endell Street. 

HiGGiNS. Public house. Yes.'^ 

DOOLITTLE. The poor man's club, Governor: why shouldnt I? 

PICKERING. Do let him tell his story, Higgins. 

DOOLITTLE. He told me what was up. And I ask you, what was 
my feelings and my duty as a father.'^ I says to the boy, "You 
bring me the luggage," I says — 

PICKERING. Why didnt you go for it yourself? 

DOOLITTLE. Landlady wouldnt have trusted me with it, 
Governor. She's that kind of woman: you know. I had to give 
the boy a penny afore he trusted me with it, the little swine. I 
brought it to her just to oblige you like, and make myself agree- 
able. Thats all. 

HIGGINS. How much luggage? 

DOOLITTLE. Musical instrument. Governor. A few pictures, a 
trifle of jewlery, and a bird-cage. She said she didnt want no 
clothes. What was I to think from that, Governor? I ask you as a 
parent what was I to think? 

HIGGINS. So you came to rescue her from worse than death, 

DOOLITTLE [appreciatively: relieved at being so well understood] 
Just so. Governor. Thats right. 

PICKERING. But why did you bring her luggage if you in- 
tended to take her away? 

DOOLITTLE. Have I said a word about taking her away? Have I 

HIGGINS [determinedly] Youre going to take her away, double 
quick. [He crosses to the hearth and rings the bell], 

DOOLITTLE [rising] No, Governor. Dont say that. I'm not the 
man to stand in my girl's light. Heres a career opening for her, 



as you might say; and — 

Mrs Pearce opens the door and awaits orders. 

HiGGiNS. Mrs Pearce: this is EHza's father. He has come to take 
her away. Gi\'e her to him. [He goes back to the piano, with an air 
of washing his hands of the whole affair], 

DOOLITTLE. No. This is a misunderstanding. Listen here — 

MRS PEARCE. He cant take her away, Mr Higgins: how can he.'^ 
You told me to bum her clothes. 

DOOLITTLE. Thats right. I cant carry the girl through the 
streets like a blooming monkey, can L-* I put it to you. 

HIGGINS. You have put it to me that you want your daughter. 
Take your daughter. If she has no clotlies go out and buy her 

DOOLITTLE [desperate] Wheres the clothes she come in.'^ Did I 
bum them or did your missus here.'' 

MRS PEARCE. I am the housekeeper, if you please. I have sent 
for some clothes for your girl. When they come you can take 
her away. You can wait in the kitchen. This way, please. 

Doolittle, much trouhled, accompanies her to the door; then hesi- 
tates; finally turns confidentially to Higgins. 

DOOLITTLE. Listen here, Govemor. You and me is men of the 
world, aint we.-* 

HIGGINS. Oh! Men of the world, are we.'' Youd better go, Mrs 

MRS PEARCE. I tliink so, indeed, sir. [She goes, with dignity]. 

PICKERING. The floor is yours, Mr Doolittle. 

DOOLITTLE [to Pickering] I thank you, Governor. [To HigginSy 
who takes refuge on the piano bench, a little overwhelmed by the 
proximity of his visitor; for Doolittle has a professional flavor of 
dust about him]. Well, the trudi is, Ive taken a sort of fancy to 
you, Go\emor; and if you want the girl, I'm not so set on having 
her back home again but what I might be open to an arrange- 
ment. Regarded in the light of a young woman, she's a fine hand- 
some girl. As a daughter she's not worth her keep; and so I tell 
you straigiu. All I ask is my rights as a father; and youre the last 
man alive to expect me to let her go for nodiing; for I can see 




youre one of the straight sort, Governor. Well, whats a five- 
/ pound note to you? and whats Eliza to me? [He turns to his 
chair and sits down judicially]. 

PICKERING. I think you ought to know, Doolittle, that Mr 
Higgins's intentions are entirely honorable. 

DOOLITTLE. Coursc they are, Governor. If I thought they 
wasn't, I'd ask fifty. 

HiGGiNS [revolted] Do you mean to say that you would sell 
your daughter for ^^50? 

DOOLITTLE. Not in a general way I wouldnt; but to oblige a 
gentleman like you I'd do a good deal, I do assure you. 

PICKERING. Have you no morals, man? 

DOOLITTLE [unabas/icd] Cant afford them, Governor. Neither 
could you if you was as poor as me. Not that I mean any harm, 
^/ you know. But if Liza is going to have a bit out of this, why not 
me too? 

HIGGINS [troul)Ied] I dont know what to do, Pickering. There 
can be no question that as a matter of morals it's a positive crime 
to give this chap a farthing. And yet I feel a sort of rough justice 
in his claim. 

DOOLITTLE. Thats it, Governor. Thats all I say. A father's 
heart, as it were. 

PICKERING. Well, I know the feeling; but really it seems hardly 
right — 

DOOLITTLE. Dont say that, Governor. Dont look at it that 
way. What am I, Governors both? I ask you, what am I? I'm 
one of the undeserving poor: thats what I am. Think of what 
that means to a man. It means that he's up agen middle class 
morality all the time. If theres anything going, and I put in for 
a bit of it, it's always the same story; "Youre undeserving; so 
you cant have it." But my needs is as great as tiie most deserving 
widow's that ever got money out of six different charities in one 
week for the death of the same husband. I dont need less than a 
deserving man: I need more. I dont eat less hearty than him; and 
I drink a lot more. I want a bit of amusement, cause I'm a think- 
ing man. I want cheerfulness and a song and a band when I feel 



low. Well, they charge me just the same for everything as they 
charge the deserving. What is middle class morality? Just an ex- 
cuse for never giving me anything. Therefore, I ask you, as fuo 
gentlemen, not to play that game on me. I'm playing straight 
■with you. I aint pretending to be deserving. I'm undeserving; 
and I mean to go on being undeserving. I like it; and diats the 
truth. Will you take ad\ antage of a man's nature to do him out 
of the price of his own daughter what he's brought up and fed 
and clothed by the sweat of his brow until she's growed big 
enough to be interesting to you two gentlemen.'' Is five pounds 
unreasonable.'* I put it to you; and I leave it to you. 

HIGGINS [rising, and going over to Pickering] Pickering: if we 
were to take this man in hand for three months, he could choose 
between a seat in tlie Cabinet and a popular pulpit in Wales. 

PICKERING. What do you say to that, Doolittle.'^ 

DOOLiTTLE. Not me, Governor, thank you kindly. Ive heard 
ail the preachers and all the prime ministers — for I'm a thinking 
man and game for politics or religion or social reform same as all 
the other amusements — and I tell you it's a dog's life any way 
you look at it. Undeserving po^'erty is my line. Taking one 
station in society with another, it's — it's — well, it's the only one 
that has any ginger in it, to my taste. 

HIGGINS. I suppose we must give him a fiver. 

PICKERING. He'll make a bad use of it, I'm afraid. 

DOOLITTLE. Not me, Governor, so help me I wont. Dont you 
be afraid that I'll save it and spare it and live idle on it. There 
wont be a penny of it left by Monday: I'll have to go to work 
same as if I'd never had it. It wont pauperize me, you bet. Just 
one good spree for myself and the missus, giving pleasure to 
ourselves and employment to others, and satisfaction to you 
to think it's not been throwed away. You couldnt spend it 

HIGGINS [taking out his pocket book and coming between Doo- 
little and the piano] This is irresistible. Lets give him ten. [He 
offers two notes to the dustman]. 

DOOLITTLE. No, Go\ernor. She wouldnt have the heart to 



spend ten; and perhaps I shouldnt neither. Ten pounds is a lot of 
money: it makes a man feel prudent Hke; and then goodbye to 
happiness. You give me what I ask you, Governor: not a penny 
more, and not a penny less. 

PICKERING. Why dont you marry that missus of yours.'* I 
rather draw the line at encouraging that sort of immorality. 

DOOLITTLE. Tell her so. Governor: tell her so. /'m willing. It's 
me that suffers by it. Ive no hold on her. I got to be agreeable to 
her. I got to give her presents. I got to buy her clothes something 
sinful. I'm a slave to that woman. Governor, just because I'm 
not her lawful husband. And she knows it too. Catch her marry- 
ing me! Take my advice. Governor: marry Eliza while she's 
young and dont know no better. If you dont youU be sorry for it 
after. If you do, she'll be sorry for it after; but better her than 
you, because youre a man, and she's only a woman and dont 
know how to be happy anyhow. 

HiGGiNS. Pickering: if we listen to this man another minute, 
we shall have no convictions left. [To Doolittle] Five pounds I 
think you said. 

DOOLITTLE. Thank you kindly. Governor. 

HIGGINS. Youre sure you wont take ten.'* 

DOOLITTLE. Not now. Another time, Governor. 

HIGGINS [handing him a Jive-pound note] Here you are. 

DOOLITTLE. Thank you. Governor. Good morning. [He 
hurries to the door, anxious to get away with his booty. When he 
opens it he is confronted with a dainty and exquisitely clean young 
Japanese lady in a simple blue cotton kimono printed cunningly with 
small white jasmine blossoms. Airs Pearce is with her. He gets out 
of her way deferentially and apologiies]. Beg pardon, miss. 

THE JAPANESE LADY. Gam! Dont you know your own 

DOOLITTLE I exclaiming 
HIGGINS -simul- 
PICKERINGJ taneously 
LIZA. Dont I look silly? 
HIGGINS. Silly.^ 


'Bly me! it's Eliza! 
Whats that.^ This! 
By Jove! 


MRS PEARCE [at the door] Now, Mr Higgins, please dont say 
anything to make the girl conceited about herself. 

HIGGINS [conscientiously] Oh! Quite right, Mrs Pearce. [To 
£/iia] Yes: damned silly. 

MRS PEARCE. Please, sir. 

HIGGINS [correcting himself] I mean extremely silly. 

LIZA. I should look all right with my hat on. [She takes up her 
hat; puts it onj and walks across the room to the fireplace with a 
fashionable air]. 

HIGGINS. A new fashion, by George! And it ought to look 

DOOLITTLE [with fatherly pride] Well, I never thought she'd 
clean up as good looking as tliat. Governor. She's a credit to me, 
aint she.'' 

LIZA. I tell you, it's easy to clean up here. Hot and cold water 
on tap, just as much as you like, there is. Woolly towels, there 
is; and a towel horse so hot, it bums your fingers. Soft brushes to 
scrub yourself, and a wooden bowl of soap smelling like prim- 
roses. Now I know why ladies is so clean. Washing's a treat for 
them. Wish they could see what it is for the like of me! 

HIGGINS. I'm glad the badiroom met with your approval. 

LIZA. It didnt: not all of it; and I dont care who hears me say 
it. Mrs Pearce knows. 

HIGGINS. What was wrong, Mrs Pearce.-* 

MRS PEARCE [blandly] Oh, nodiing, sir. It doesnt matter. 

LIZA. I had a good mind to break it. I didnt know which way 
to look. But I hung a towel over it, I did. 

HIGGINS. Over what.-* 

MRS PEARCE. Over the looking-glass, sir. 

HIGGINS. Doolitde: you have brought your daughter up too 

DOOLITTLE. Me! I never brought her up at all, except to give 
her a lick of a strap now and again. Dont put it on me, Governor. 
She aint accustomed to it, you see: thats all. But she'll soon pick 
up your free-and-easy ways. 

LIZA. I'm a good girl, I am; and I wont pick up no free-and- 



easy ways. 

HiGGiNS. Eliza: if you say again that youre a good girl, your 
father shall take you home. 

LIZA. Not him. You dont know my father. All he come here 
for was to touch you for some money to get drunk on. 

DOOLITTLE. Well, what else would I want money for.^ To put 
into the plate in church, I suppose. [She puts out her tongue at 
him. He is so incensed by this that Pickering presently finds it 
necessary to step between them]. Dont you give me none of your 
lip; and dont let me hear you giving this gentleman any of it 
neither, or youU hear from me about it. See.'' 

HIGGINS. Have you any further advice to give her before you 
go, Doolittle? Your blessing, for instance. 

DOOLITTLE. No, Govemor: I aint such a mug as to put up my 
children to all I know myself. Hard enough to hold them in with- 
out that. If you want Eliza's mind improved, Governor, you do 
it yourself with a strap. So long, gentlemen. [He turns to go]. 

HIGGINS [impressively] Stop. YouU come regularly to see your 
daughter. It's your duty, you know. My brother is a clergyman; 
and he could help you in your talks with her. 

DOOLITTLE [evasively] Certainly, I'll come. Governor. Not just 
this week, because I have a job at a distance. But later on you 
may depend on me. Afternoon, gentlemen. Afternoon, maam. 
[He touches his hat to Airs Pearce, who disdains the salutation 
and goes out. He winks at Higgins, thinking him probably a fellow- 
sufferer from Mrs Pearce^s difficult disposition, and follows her]. 

LIZA. Dont you believe the old liar. He'd as soon you set a 
bulldog on him as a clergyman. You wont see him again in a 

HIGGINS. I dont want to, Eliza. Do you? 

LIZA. Not me. I dont want never to see him again, I dont. He's 
a disgrace to me, he is, collecting dust, instead of working at his 

PICKERING. What is his trade, Eliza.^ 

LIZA. Talking money out of other people's pockets into his 
own. His proper trade's a navvy; and he works at it sometimes 



too — for exercise — and earns good money at it. Aint you going to 
call me Miss Doolittle any more? 

PICKERING. I beg your pardon, Miss Doolittle. It was a slip of 
the tongue. 

LIZA. Oh, I dont mind; only it sounded so genteel. I should 
just like to take a taxi to the comer of Tottenham Court Road 
and get out there and tell it to wait for me, just to put tlie girls in 
tlieir place a bit. I wouldnt speak to them, you know. 

PICKERING. Better wait til we get you something really fashion- 

HiGGiNS. Besides, you shouldnt cut your old friends now that 
you have risen in the world. Thats what we call snobbery. 

LIZA. You dont call die like of them my friends now, I should 
hope. Thej'^e took it out of me often enough witli their ridicule 
when they had the chance; and now I mean to get a bit of my 
o\\m back. But if I'm to ha\ e fashionable clothes, I'll wait. I 
should like to have some. Mrs Pearce says youre going to give 
me some to wear in bed at night different to what I wear in the 
daytime; but it do seem a waste of money when you could get 
something to shew. Besides, I never could fancy changing into 
cold things on a winter night. 

MRS PEARCE [coming back\ Now, Eliza. The new things have 
come for you to try on. 

LIZA. Ah-ow-oo-ooh I [She rushes out]. 

MRS PEARCE [folloH'ing her] Oh, dont rush about like tliat, girl. 
\She shuts the door behind her], 

HIGGINS. Pickering: we have taken on a stiff job. 

PICKERING [with conviction] Higgins: we have. 

^ * >.- ^ Hf if 

There seems to be some curiosity as to what Higgins's lessons 
to Eliza were like. Well, here is a sample: the first one. 

Picture Eliza, in her new clodies, and feeling her inside put 
out of step by a lunch, dinner, and breakfast of a kind to which 
it is unaccustomed, seated with Higgins and the Colonel in the 
study, feeling like a hospital out-patient at a first encounter with 
llie doctors. 



Higgins, constitutionally unable to sit still, discomposes her 
still more by striding restlessly about. But for the reassuring 
presence and quietude of her friend the Colonel she would run 
for her life, even back to Drury Lane. 

HIGGINS. Say your alphabet. 

LIZA. I know my alphabet. Do you think I know nothing? I 
dont need to be taught like a child. 

HIGGINS [thundering] Say your alphabet. 

PICKERING. Say it, Miss Doolittle. You will understand 
presently. Do what he tells you; and let him teach you in his 
own way. 

LIZA. Oh well, if you put it like that — Ahyee, bsyee, cayee, 
dayee — 

HIGGINS [with the roar of a wounded /ion] Stop. Listen to this, 
Pickering. This is what we pay for as elementary education. This 
unfortunate animal has been locked up for nine years in school at 
our expense to teach her to speak and read the language of 
Shakespear and Milton. And the result is Ahyee, Ba-yee, Ca-yee, 
Da-yee. [To Eliia] Say A, B, C, D. 

LIZA [almost in tears] But I'm sayin it. Ahyee, Bayee, Ca-yee — 

HIGGINS. Stop. Say a cup of tea. 

LIZA. A capp9t3-ee. 

HIGGINS. Put your tongue forward until it squeezes against 
the top of your lower teeth. Now say cup. 

LIZA. C-c-c — I cant. C-Cup. 

PICKERING. Good. Splendid, Miss Doolittle. 

HIGGINS. By Jupiter, she's done it at the first shot. Pickering: 
we shall make a duchess of her. [To Eliia] Now do you think 
you could possibly say tea.^ Not ta-yee, mind: if you ever say 
ba-yee ca-yee da-yee again you shall be dragged round the room 
diree times by the hair of your head. [Fortissimo] T, T, T, T. 

LIZA [weeping] I cant hear no difference cep that it sounds 
more genteel-like when you say it. 

HIGGINS. Well, if you can hear that difference, what the devil 
are you crying for? Pickering: give her a chocolate. 

PICKERING. No no. Never mind crying a litde, Miss Doolittle: 



you are doing very well; and the lessons wont hurt. I promise you 
I wont let him drag you round the room by your hair. 

HIGGINS. Be ofTwith you to Mrs Pearce and tell her about it. 
Think about it. Try to do it by yourself: and keep your tongue 
well forward in your mouth instead of trying to roll it up and 
swallow it. Another lesson at half-past four this afternoon. Away 
with you. 

E/ixO, still sobbing, rushes from the room. 

And that is tlie sort of ordeal poor Eliza has to go through for 
months before we meet her again on her first appearance in 
London society of die professional class. 



It is Mrs Higgins's at-home day. Nobody has yet arrived. Her 
drawing room, in a fiat on Chelsea Embankment, has three windows 
looking on the river; and the ceiling is not so lofty as it would be in 
an older house of the same pretension. The windows are open, giving 
access to a balcony with fiowers in pots. If you stand with your face 
to the windows, you have the fireplace on your left and the door in the 
right-hand wall close to the corner nearest the windows. 

Mrs Higgins was brought up on Morris and Burne Jones; and 
her room, which is very unlike her sons room in JVimpole Street, is 
not crowded with furniture and little tables and nicknacks. In the 
middle of the room there is a big ottoman; and this, with the carpet, 
the Morris wall-papers, and the Morris chinti window curtains and 
brocade covers of the ottoman and its cushions, supply all the orna- 
ment, and are much too handsome to be hidden by odds and ends of 
useless things. A few good oil-paintings from the exhibitions in 
the Grosvenor Gallery thirty years ago (the Burne Jones, not the 
JVhistler side of therri) are on the walls. The only landscape is a 
Cecil Lawson on the scale of a Rubens. There is a portrait of Mrs 
Higgins as she was when she defied fashion in her youth in one of the 
beautiful Rossettian costumes which, when caricatured by people 
who did not understand, led to the absurdities of popular estheticism 
in the eighteen-seventies . 

In the corner diagonally opposite the door Mrs Higgins, now over 
sixty and long past taking the trouble to dress out of the fashion, sits 
writing at an elegantly simple writing-table with a bell button within 
reach of her hand. There is a Chippendale chair further back in the 
room between her and the window nearest her side. At the other side 
of the room, further forward, is an EUiabethan chair roughly carved 
in the taste oflnigo Jones. On the same side a piano in a decorated 
case. The corner between the fireplace and the window is occupied by 
a divan cushioned in Morris chinti. 

It is between four and five in the afterrwon. 

The door is opened violently; and Higgins enters with his hat on, 



MRS HiGGiNS [dismayed] Henry! [Scolding hin{\ Wliat are you 
doing here today? It is my at-home day: you promised not to 
come. [As he bends to kiss hcr^ she takes his hat off^ and presents it 
to hin{\. 

HIGGINS. Oh bother! [He throws the hat down on the table\. 

MRS HIGGINS. Go home at once. 

HIGGINS [kissing her\ I know, mother. I came on purpose. 

MRS HIGGINS. But you mustnt. I'm serious, Henry. You offend 
all my friends: they stop coming whenever they meet you. 

HIGGINS. Nonsense! I know I have no small talk; but people 
dont mind. [He sits on the settee]. 

MRS HIGGINS. Oil! dont they.^ Small talk indeed! What about 
your large talk? Really, dear, you mustnt stay. 

HIGGINS. I must. Ive a job for you. A phonetic job. 

MRS HIGGINS. No use, dear. I'm sorry; but I cant get round 
your vowels; and though I like to get pretty postcards in your 
patent shorthand, I always have to read tlie copies in ordinary 
writing you so thoughtfully send me. 

HIGGINS. Well, this isnt a phonetic job. 

MRS HIGGINS. You Said it was. 

HIGGINS. Not your part of it. Ive picked up a girl. 

MRS HIGGINS. Does that mean that some girl has picked you 

HIGGINS. Not at all. I dont mean a love affair. 

MRS HIGGINS. What 3 pity! 


MRS HIGGINS. Well, you never fall in love with anyone under 
forty-five. When will you discover that there are some rather 
nice-looking young women about? 

HIGGINS. Oh, I cant be bodiered with young women. My idea 
of a lovable woman is somebody as like you as possible. I shall 
never get into the way of seriously liking young women: some 
habits lie too deep to be changed. [Rising abruptly and walking 
about^ jingling his money and his keys in his trouser pockets] Besides, 
I they re all idiots. 
I MRS HIGGINS. Do you know what you would do if you really 



loved me, Henry? 

HiGGiNS. Oh bother! What? Marry, I suppose. 

MRS HIGGINS. No. Stop fidgeting and take your hands out of 
your pockets. [ If^ith a gesture of despair, he obeys and sits down 
again]. Thats a good boy. Now tell me about the girl. 

HIGGINS. She's coming to see you. , 

MRS HIGGINS. I dont remember asking her. ' 

HIGGINS. You didnt. / asked her. If youd known her you 
wouldnt have asked her. 

MRS HIGGINS. Indeed! Why? 

HIGGINS. Well, it's like this. She's a common flower girl. I 
picked her off the kerbstone. 

MRS HIGGINS. And invited her to my at-home! 

HIGGINS [rising and coming to her to coax her] Oh, thatll be all 
right. Ive taught her to speak properly; and she has strict orders 
as to her behavior. She's to keep to two subjects: the weather 
and everybody's health — Fine day and How do you do, you 
know — and not to let herself go on things in general. That will 
be safe. 

MRS HIGGINS. Safe! To talk about our health! about our in- 
sides! perhaps about our outsides! How could you be so silly, 

HIGGINS [impatiently] Well, she must talk about something. | 
[He controls himself and sits down again]. Oh, she'll be all right: * 
dont you fuss. Pickering is in it with me. Ive a sort of bet on that 
I'll pass her off as a duchess in six months. I started on her some 
months ago; and she's getting on like a house on fire. I shall win 
my bet. She has a quick ear; and she's been easier to teach than 
my middle-class pupils because she's had to learn a complete 
new language. She talks English almost as you talk French. 

MRS HIGGINS. Thats satisfactory, at all events. 

HIGGINS. Well, it is and it isnt. 

MRS HIGGINS. What does that mean? 

HIGGINS. You see, Ive got her pronunciation all right; but you „ 
have to consider not only how a girl pronounces, but what she I 
pronounces; and that's where — 


f I 



They are interrupted by the parlor-maid, announcing guests. 

THE PARLOR-MAID. Mrs and Miss Eynsford Hill. [She with- 

HIGGINS. Oh Lord! [He rises; snatches his hat from the table; 
and makes for the door; but before he reaches it his mother introduces 

Mrs and Miss Eynsford Hill are the mother and daughter who 
sheltered from the rain in Covent Garden. The mother is well bred, 
quiet J and has the habitual anxiety of straitened means. The daughter 
has acquired a gay air of being very much at home in society: the 
bravado of genteel poverty. 

MRS EYNSFORD HILL [to Mrs Higgins] How do you do.'' [They 
shake hands], 

MISS EYNSFORD HILL. How d'you do? [She shakes], 

MRS HIGGINS [introducing] My son Henry. 

MRS EYNSFORD HILL. Your celebrated son! I have so longed to 
meet you, Professor Higgins. 

HIGGINS [glumly^ making no movement in her direction] De- 
lighted. [He backs against the piano and bows brusquely], 

MISS EYNSFORD HILL [going to him with confident familiarity] 
How do you do.-* 

HIGGINS [staring at her] Ive seen you before somewhere. I 
havnt the ghost of a notion where; but Ive heard your voice. 
[Drearily] It doesnt matter. Youd better sit down. 

MRS HIGGINS. I'm sorry to say that my celebrated son has no 
manners. You mustnt mind him. 

MISS EYNSFORD HILL [gaily] I dont. [She sits in the Elizabethan 

MRS EYNSFORD HILL [a little bewildered] Not at all. [She sits on 
the ottoman between her daughter and Mrs Higgins, who has turned 
her chair away from the writing-table], 

HIGGINS. Oh, have I been rude? I didnt mean to be. 

He goes to the central window, through which, with his back to the 
company, he contemplates the river and the flowers in Battersea Park 
on the opposite bank as if they were a frozen desert. 

The parlor-maid returns, ushering in Pickering. 



THE PARLOR-MAID. Coloncl Pickering. [She withdraws]. 

PICKERING. How do you do, Mrs Higgins? 

MRS HIGGINS. So glad youvc come. Do you know Mrs Eyns- 
ford Hill — Miss Eynsford Hill? [Exchange of bows. The Colonel 
brings the Chippendale chair a little forward between Mrs Hill and 
Mrs Higgins y and sits down]. 

PICKERING. Has Henry told you what weve come for? 

HIGGINS [over his shoulder] We were interrupted; damn it! 

MRS HIGGINS. Oh Henry, Henry, really! 

MRS EYNSFORD HILL [half rising] Are we in the way? 

MRS HIGGINS [rising and making her sit down again] No, no. 
You couldnt have come more fortunately: we want you to meet 
a friend of ours. 

HIGGINS [turning hopefully] Yes, by George! We want two or 
three people. Youll do as well as anybody else. 

The parlor-maid returns, ushering Freddy. 

THE PARLOR-MAID. Mr Eynsford Hill. 

HIGGINS [almost audibly, past endurance] God of Heaven! an- 
other of them. 

FREDDY [shaking hands with Mrs Higgins] Ahdedo? 

MRS HIGGINS. Very good of you to come. [Introducing] Colonel 

FREDDY [bowing] Ahdedo? 

MRS HIGGINS. I dont think you know my son, Professor 

FREDDY [going to Higgins] Ahdedo? 

HIGGINS [looking at him much as if he were a pickpocket] I'll take 
my oath Ive met you before somewhere. Where was it? 

FREDDY. I dont think so. 

HIGGINS [resignedly] It dont matter, anyhow. Sit down. 

He shakes Freddy's hand, and almost slings him on to the ottoman 
with his face to the windows; then comes round to the other side of it. 

HIGGINS. Well, here we are, anyhow! [He sits down on the otto- 
man next Mrs Eynsford Hill, on her left]. And now, what the 
devil are we going to talk about until Eliza comes? 

MRS HIGGINS. Henry: you are the life and soul of the Royal 



Society's soirees; but really youre rather trying on more common- 
place occasions. 

HIGGINS. Am I? Very sorry. [Beaming suddenly] I suppose I 
am, you know. [Uproariously] Ha, ha! 

MISS EYNSFORD HILL [who Considers Higgins quite eligible matri- 
monially'] I sympatliize. / havnt any small talk. If people would 
only be frank and say what they really think ! 

HIGGINS [relapsing into gloom] Lord forbid 1 

MRS EYNSFORD HILL [taking up her daughter's cue] But why.^ 

HIGGINS. What they diink diey ought to diink is bad enough. 
Lord knows; but what they really think would break up die 
whole show. Do you suppose it would be really agreeable if I 
were to come out now with what / really think.'^ 

MISS EYNSFORD HILL [gaily] Is it SO very cynical? 

HIGGINS. Cynical! Who the dickens said it was cynical? I mean 
it wouldnt be decent. 

MRS EYNSFORD HILL [seriously] Oh! I'm sure you dont mean 
that, Mr Higgins. 

HIGGINS. You see, we're all savages, more or less. We're sup- 
posed to be civilized and cultured — to know all about poetry and 
philosophy and art and science, and so on; but how many of us 
know even the meanings of these names? [To Miss Hill] What 
do you know of poetry? [To Mrs Hill] What do you know of 
science? [Indicating Freddy] What does he know of art or science 
or anything else? What the devil do you imagine I know of 

MRS HIGGINS [wamingly] Or of manners, Henry? 

THE PARLOR-MAID [opening the door] Miss Doolittle. [She with- 

HIGGINS [rising hastily and running to Mrs Higgins] Here she 
is, mother. [He stands on tiptoe and makes signs over his mother's 
head to Elv^a to indicate to her which lady is her hostess]. 

Eliza^ who is exquisitely dressed, produces an impression of such 
remarkable distinction and beauty as she enters that they all rise^ 
quite fluttered. Guided by Higgins' s signals, she comes to Mrs 
Higgins with studied grace. 



LIZA [speaking with pedantic correctness of pronunciation and 
great beauty of tone] How do you do, Mrs Higgins? [She gasps 
slightly in making sure of the H in Higgins, but is quite successful]. 
Mr Higgins told me I might come. 

MRS HIGGINS [cordially] Quite right: I'm very glad indeed to 
See you. 

PICKERING. How do you do, Miss Doolittle.^ 

LIZA [shaking hands with him] Colonel Pickering, is it not? 

MRS EYNSFORD HILL. I feel sure we have met before, Miss 
Doolittle. I remember your eyes. 

LIZA. How do you do? [She sits down on the ottoman gracefully 
in the place just left vacant by Higgins], 

MRS EYNSFORD HILL [introducing] My daughter Clara. 

LIZA. How do you do? 

CLARA [impulsively] How do you do? [She sits down on the 
ottoman beside Eliia, devouring her with her eyes]. 

FREDDY [coming to their side of the ottoman] Ive certainly had 
the pleasure. 

MRS EYNSFORD HILL [introducing] My son Freddy. 

LIZA. How do you do? 

Freddy bows and sits down in the Eliiabethan chair, infatuated. 

HIGGINS [suddenly] By George, yes: it all comes back to me! 
[They stare at him]. Co vent Garden! [Lamentably] \^1iat a 
damned thing! 

MRS HIGGINS. Henr}', please! [He is about to sit on the edge oj 
the table] Dont sit on my writing-table: youU break it. 

HIGGINS [sulkily] Sony. 

He goes to the divan, stumbling into the fender and over the fire- 
irons on his way; extricating himself with muttered imprecations; 
and finishing his disastrous journey by throwing himself so im- 
patiently on the divan that he almost breaks it. Mrs Higgins looks 
at him, but controls herself and says nothing. 

A long and painful pause ensues. 

MRS HIGGINS [at last, conversationally'] Will it rain, do you 

LIZA. The shallow depression in the west of these islands is 



likely to move slowly in an easterly direction. There are no in- 
dications of any great change in the barometrical situation. 

FREDDY. Ha! ha! how awfully funny! 

LIZA. What is wrong with that, young man? I bet I got it 

FREDDY. Killing! 

MRS EYNSFORD HILL. I'm sure I hope it wont turn cold. Theres 
so much influenza about. It runs right through our whole family 
regularly every spring. 

LIZA [dark/y] My aunt died of influenza: so they said. 

MRS EYNSFORD HILL [clicks her tongue sympathetically] ! I ! 

LIZA [in the same tragic tone] But it's my belief they done tlie 
old woman in. 

MRS HiGGiNS [/JU{^/<?/] Done her in? 

LIZA. Y-e-e-e-es, Lord love you! Why should she die of influ- 
enza? She come through diphdieria right enough tlie year before. 
I saw her witli my own eyes. Fairly blue with it, she was. They 
all thought she was dead; but my father he kept ladling gin 
douTi her tiiroat til she came to so sudden tiiat she bit the bowl 
off" the spoon. 

MRS EYNSFORD HILL [startle J] Dear me! 

LIZA [piling up the indictment] What call would a woman with 
that strength in her have to die of influenza? What become of her 
new straw hat that should have come to me? Somebody pinched 
it; and what I say is, them as pinched it done her in. 

MRS EYNSFORD HILL. What does doing her in mean? 

HIGGINS [hcutily] Oh, thats the new small talk. To do a person 
in means to kill them. 

MRS EYNSFORD HILL [to Elv^cL, horrified] You surely dont be- 
lieve that your aunt was killed? 

LIZA. Do I not! Them she lived with would have killed her 
for a hat-pin, let alone a liat. 

MRS EYNSFORD HILL. But it cant have been right for your 
father to pour spirits down her throat like that. It might have 
killed her. 

LIZA. Not her. Gin was mother's milk to her. Besides, he'd 


poured so much down his own throat that he knew the good of 

MRS EYNSFORD HILL. Do you mean that he drank? 

LIZA. Drank ! My word ! Something chronic. 

MRS EYNSFORD HILL. How dreadful for you! 

LIZA. Not a bit. It never did him no harm what I could see. 
But then he did not keep it up regular. [Cheerfu/iy] On the burst, 
as you might say, from time to time. And always more agree- 
able when he had a drop in. When he was out of work, ray 
mother used to give him fourpence and tell him to go out and 
.not come back until he'd drunk himself cheerful and loving-like. 
Theres lots of women has to make their husbands drunk to make 
them fit to live with. [Now quite at her ease] You see, it's like this. 
If a man has a bit of a conscience, it always takes him when he's 
sober; and then it makes him low-spirited. A drop of booze just 
takes that off and makes him happy. [To Freddy, who is in con- 
vulsions of suppressed laughter] Here ! what are you sniggering at.-^ 

FREDDY. The new small talk. You do it so awfully well. 

LIZA. If I was doing it proper, what was you laughing at.'' [To 
Higgins] Have I said anything I oughmt? 

MRS HIGGINS [interposing ] Not at all, Miss Doolittle. 

LIZA. Well, thats a mercy, anyhow. [Expansively] What I 
always say is — 

HIGGINS [rising and looking at his watch] Ahem! 

LIZA [looking round at him; taking the hint; and rising ] Well; 
I must go. [They all rise. Freddy goes to the door]. So pleased to 
have met you. Goodbye. [She shakes hands with Mrs Higgins]. 

MRS HIGGINS. Goodbye. 

LIZA. Goodbye, Colonel Pickering. 

PICKERING. Goodbye, Miss Doolittle. [They shake hands]. 

LIZA [nodding to the others] Goodbye, all. 

FREDDY [opening the door for her] Are you walking across the 
Park, Miss Doolitde? If so — 

LIZA [with perfectly elegant diction] Walk! Not bloody likely. 
[Sensation]. I am going in a taxi. [She goes out], 

Pickering gasps and sits down. Freddy goes out on the balcony to 



catch another glimpse of Eliia. 

MRS EYNSFORD HILL [suffering from shock] Well, I really cant 
get used to the new ways. 

CLARA [throwing herself discontentedly into the Eli^alwthan 
chair] Oh, it's all right, mamma, quite right. People will think 
we never go anywhere or see anybody if you are so old-fashioned. 

MRS EYNSFORD HILL. I daresay I am very old-fashioned; but 
I do hope you wont begin using that expression, Clara. I have 
got accustomed to hear you talking about men as rotters, and 
calling everything fildiy and beastly; though I do think it hor- 
rible and unladylike. But this last is really too much. Dont you 
think so, Colonel Pickering.-^ 

PICKERING. Dont ask me. Ive been away in India for several 
years; and manners have changed so much that I sometimes dont 
know whedier I'm at a respectable dinner-table or in a ship's 

CLARA. It's all a matter of habit. Theres no right or wrong in 
it. Nobody means anydiing by it. And it's so quaint, and gives 
such a smart emphasis to things that are not in themselves very 
witt\'. I find tlie new small talk delightful and quite innocent. 

MRS EYNSFORD HILL [rising ] Well, after that, I tliink it's time 
for us to go. 

Pickering and Higgins rise. 

CLARA [rising] Oh yes: we have three at-homes to go to still. 
Goodbye, Mrs Higgins. Goodbye, Colonel Pickering. Goodbye, 
Professor Higgins. 

HIGGINS [coming grimly at her from the divan, and accompanYing 
her to the door] Goodbye. Be sure you try on that small talk 
at tlie diree at-homes. Dont be nervous about it. Pitch it in 

CLARA [all smiles] I will. Goodbye. Such nonsense, all this 
early Victorian prudery! 

HIGGINS [tempting her] Such damned nonsense! 

CLARA. Such bloody nonsense! 

MRS EYNSFORD HILL [convulsively] Clara! 

CLARA. Ha! ha! [She goes out radiant, conscious of being thov' 



oughly up to date^ and is heard descending the stairs in a stream of 
silvery laughter^ 

FREDDY [to the heavens at large] Well, I ask you — [He gives it 
up, and comes to Mrs Higgins]. Goodbye. 

MRS HIGGINS [shaking hands] Goodbye. Would you like to 
meet Miss Doolittle again.'* 

FREDDY [eagerly] Yes, I should, most awfully. 

MRS HIGGINS. Well, you know my days. 

FREDDY. Yes, Thanks awfully. Goodbye. [He goes out], 

MRS EYNSFORD HILL. Goodbye, Mr Higgins. 

HIGGINS. Goodbye. Goodbye. 

MRS EYNSFORD HILL [to Pickering ] It's no use. I shall never be 
able to bring myself to use that word. 

PICKERING. Dont. It's not compulsory, you know. Youll get 
on quite well without it. 

MRS EYNSFORD HILL. Only, Clara is so down on me if I am not 
positively reeking with the latest slang. Goodbye. 

PICKERING. Goodbye [They shake hands]. 

MRS EYNSFORD HILL [to Mrs Higgins] You mustntmind Clara. 
[Pickering, catching from her lowered tone that this is not meant for 
him to hear, discreetly joins Higgins at the window]. We're so poor! 
and she gets so few parties, poor child! She doesnt quite know. 
[Mrs Higgins, seeing that her eyes are moist, takes her hand sym- 
pathetically and goes with her to the door]. But the boy is nice. 
Dont you think so,'' 

MRS HIGGINS. Oh, quite nice. I shall always be delighted to 
see him. 

MRS EYNSFORD HILL. Thank you, dear. Goodbye. [She goes 

HIGGINS [eagerly] Well? Is Eliza presentable [he swoops on his 
mother and drags her to the ottoman, where she sits down in Eli:(as 
place with her son on her left]} 

Pickering returns to his chair on her right. 

MRS HIGGINS. You silly boy, of course she's not presentable. 
She's a triumph of your art and of her dressmaker's; but if you 
suppose for a moment that she doesnt give herself away in every 



sentence she utters, you must be perfectly cracked about her. 

PICKERING. But dont you tliink something might be done? 1 
mean something to eHminate the sanguinary element from her 

MRS HiGGiNS. Not as long as she is in Henry's hands. 

HiGGiNS [aggrieved] Do }'Ou mean diat my language is im- 

MRS HIGGINS. No, dearest: it would be quite proper — say on 
a canal barge; but it \^ould not be proper for her at a garden 

HIGGINS [deeply injured] Well I must say — 

PICKERING [interrupting him] Come, Higgins: j'-ou must learn 
to know yourself. I ha\nt heard such language as yours since 
we used to review tlie volunteers in Hyde Park twenty years 

HIGGINS [sulkily] Oh, well, if you say so, I suppose I dont 
always talk like a bishop. 

MRS HIGGINS [quieting Henry with a touch] Colonel Pickering: 
will you tell me what is the exact state of things in Wimpole 

PICKERING [cheerfully: as if this completely changed the subject] 
\^'ell, I have come to live tliere with Henry. We work togedier 
at my Indian Dialects; and we think it more convenient — 

MRS HIGGINS. Quite so. I know all about that: it's an excellent 
arrangement. But where does this girl live? 

HIGGINS. With us, of course. Where should she live? 

MRS HIGGINS. But on what terms? Is she a ser\'ant? If not, what 
is she? 

PICKERING [slowly] I think I know what you mean, Mrs 

HIGGINS. Well, dash me if / do! Ive had to work at the girl 
every day for months to get her to her present pitch. Besides, 
she's useful. She knows where my tilings are, and remembers my 
appointments and so forth. 

MRS HIGGINS. How does your housekeeper get on with her? 

HIGGINS. Mrs Pearce? Oh, she's jolly glad to get so much taken 



off her hands; for before Eliza came, she used to have to find 
things and remind me of my appointments. But she's got some 
silly bee in her bonnet about Eliza. She keeps saying "You dont 
think, sir": doesnt she, Pick? 

PICKERING. Yes: thats the formula. "You dont think, sir." 
Thats the end of every conversation about Eliza. 

HiGGiNS. As if I ever stop thinking about the girl and her con- 
foimded vowels and consonants. I'm worn out, thinking about 
her, and watching her lips and her teeth and her tongue, not to 
mention her soul, which is the quaintest of the lot. 

MRS HIGGINS. You Certainly are a pretty pair of babies, play- 
ing with your live doll. 

HIGGINS. Playing! The hardest job I ever tackled: make no 
mistake about that, mother. But you have no idea how fright- 
fully interesting it is to take a human being and change her into 
a quite different human being by creating a new speech for her. 
It's filling up the deepest gulf that separates class from class and 
soul from soul. 

PICKERING [drawing his chair closer to Mrs Higgins and bend- 
ing over to her eagerly] Yes: it's enormously interesting. I assure 
you, Mrs Higgins, we take Eliza very seriously. Every week — 
every day almost — there is some new change. [Closer again] 
We keep records of every stage — dozens of gramophone disks 
and photographs — 

HIGGINS [assailing her at the other ear] Yes, by George: it's the 
most absorbing experiment I ever tackled. She regularly fills our 
lives up: doesnt she, Pick.'^ 

PICKERING. We're always talking Eliza. 

HIGGINS. Teaching Eliza. 

PICKERING. Dressing Eliza. 


HIGGINS. Inventing new Elizas. 

You know, she has the most extra- 
[speaking ordinary quickness of ear: 
together] I assure you, my dear Mrs Higgins, 
that girl 







just like a parrot. Ive tried her with 

together] is a genius. She can play the piano 
quite beautifully. 
HIGGINS. \ possible sort of sound that a human 

being can make — 
PICKERING., We have taken her to classical con- 

certs and to music 
HIGGINS. I Continental dialects, African dialects, 

I Hottentot 

PICKERING. J halls; and it's all the same to her: she 

I plays everything 

HIGGINS. I clicks, things it took me years to get 

hold of; and 
PICKERING. I she hears right off when she comes 

home, whether it's 
HIGGINS. \ Tshe picks them up like a shot, right 

J away, as if she had 
PICKERING. Beethoven and Brahms or Lehar and 

Lionel Monckton; 
HIGGINS. "I [been at it all her life. 

PICKERING.  though six montlis ago, she'd never as 

I much as touched a piano — 
MRS HIGGINS [putting her fingers in her ears, as they are by this 
time shouting one another down with an intolerable rwise\ Sh-sll-sh 
— sh! [They stop]. 

PICKERING. I beg your pardon. [He draws his chair bach apolo- 

HIGGINS. Sorry. When Pickering starts shouting nobody can 
get a word in edgeways. 

MRS HIGGINS. Be quict, Henry. Colonel Pickering: dont you 
realize that when Eliza walked into Wimpole Street, soraetliing 
walked in with her? 

PICKERING. Her father did. But Henry soon got rid of him. 
MRS HIGGINS. It would have been more to the point if her 
mother had. But as her motlier didnt something else did, 



PICKERING. But what? 

MRS HIGGINS [unconscious/y dating herself by the word\ A 

PICKERING. Oh, I see. The problem of how to pass her off as 
a lady. 

HIGGINS. I'll solve that problem. Ive half solved it already. 

MRS HIGGINS. No, you two infinitely stupid male creatures: 
the problem of what is to be done with her afterwards. 

HIGGINS. I dont see anytliing in that. She can go her own way, 
with all the advantages I have given her. 

MRS HIGGINS. The advantages of that poor woman who was 
here just now! The manners and habits that disqualify a fine 
lady from earning her own living without giving her a fine lady's 
income! Is that what you mean? 

PICKERING [indulgently, being rather bored] Oh, that will be 
all right, Mrs Higgins. [He rises to go]. 

HIGGINS [rising also] We'll find her some light emplo;yTnent. 

PICKERING. She's happy enough. Dont you worry about her. 
Goodbye. [He shakes hands as if he were consoling a frightened 
child, and makes for the door]. 

HIGGINS. Anyhow, theres no good bothering now. The thing's 
done. Goodbye, mother. [He kisses her, and follows Pickering]. 

PICKERING [turning for a final consolation] There are plenty of 
openings. We'll do whats right. Goodbye. 

HIGGINS [to Pickering as they go out together] Lets take her to 
the Shakespear exliibition at Earls Court. 

PICKERING. Yes: lets. Her remarks will be delicious. 

HIGGINS. She'll mimic all the people for us when we get home. 

PICKERING. Ripping. [Both are heard laughing as they go down- 

MRS HIGGINS [rises with an impatient bounce, and returns to her 
work at the writing-table. She sweeps a litter of disarranged papers 
out of her way; snatches a sheet of paper from her stationery case; 
and tries resolutely to write. At the third line she gives it up; flings 
down her pen; grips the table angrily and exclaims] Oh, men! men! ! 
men ! ! ! 



Clearly Eliza will not pass as a duchess yet; and Higgins's 
bet remains unwon. But the six months are not yet exliausted; 
and just in time Eliza does actually pass as a princess. For a glimpse 
I of how she did it imagine an Embassy in London one summer 
evening after dark. The hall door has an awning and a carpet 
across tlie sidewalk to the kerb, because a grand reception is in 
progress. A small crowd is lined up to see the guests arrive. 

A Rolls-Royce car drives up. Pickering in evening dress, v.ith. 
medals and orders, alights, and hands out Eliza, in opera cloak, 
evening dress, diamonds, fan, flowers and all accessories. 
Higgins follows. The car drives off; and the three go up the steps 
and into the house, the door opening for them as they approach. 

Inside the house they find diemselves in a spacious hall from 
which the grand staircase rises. On the left are the arrangements 
for the gentlemen's cloaks. The male guests are depositing their 
hats and wraps there. 

On the right is a door leading to the ladies' cloakroom. Ladies 
are going in cloaked and coming out in splendor. Pickering 
whispers to Eliza and points out the ladies' room. She goes into 
it. Higgins and Pickering take off their overcoats and take 
tickets for them from the attendant. 

One of the guests, occupied in the same way, has his back 
turned. Having taken his ticket, he turns round and reveals 
himself as an important looking young man with an astonishingly 
hairy face. He has an enormous moustache, flowing out into 
luxuriant whiskers. Waves of hair cluster on his brow. His hair 
is cropped closely at the back, and glows with oil. Otherwise he is 
very smart. He wears several worthless orders. He is evidently a 
foreigner, guessable as a whiskered Pandour from Hungary; but 
in spite of the ferocity of his moustache he is amiable and genially 

Recognizing Higgins, he flings his arms wide apart and 
approaches him enthusiastically. 

WHISKERS. Maestro, maestro [/le embraces Higgins and kisses 
him on both cheeks]. You remember me.'' 



HiGGiNS. No I dont. Who the devil are you? 

WHISKERS. I am your pupil; your first pupil, your best and 
greatest pupil. I am little Nepommuck, the marvellous boy. I 
have made your name famous throughout Europe. You teach 
me phonetic. You cannot forget ME. 

HIGGINS. Why dont you shave? 

NEPOMMUCK. I have not your imposing appearance, your chin, 
your brow. Nobody notice me when I shave. Now I am famous: 
they call me Hairy Faced Dick. 

HIGGINS. And what are you doing here among all these swells? 

NEPOMMUCK. I am interpreter. I speak 32 languages. I am indis- 
pensable at these international parties. You are great cockney 
specialist: you place a man anywhere in London the moment he 
open his moutli. I place any man in Europe. 

A footman hurries down the grand staircase and comes to 

FOOTMAN. You are wanted upstairs. Her Excellency cannot 
understand the Greek gentleman. 

NEPOMMUCK. Thank you, yes, immediately. 

The footman goes and is lost in the crowd. 

NEPOMMUCK [to Higgins] This Greek diplomatist pretends he 
cannot speak nor understand English. He cannot deceive me. 
He is the son of a Clerkenwell watchmaker. He speaks English 
so villainously that he dare not utter a word of it without be- 
traying his origin. I help him to pretend; but I make him pay 
through the nose. I make them all pay. Ha ha! [He hurries 

PICKERING. Is this fellow really an expert? Can he find out 
Eliza and blackmail her? 

HIGGINS. We shall see. If he finds her out I lose my bet. 

Eii^a comes from the cloakroom and joins them. 

PICKERING. Well, Eliza, now for it. Are you ready? 

LIZA. Are you nervous. Colonel? 

PICKERING. Frightfully. I feel exactly as I felt before my first 
battle. It's the first time that frightens. 

LIZA. It is not the first time for me, Colonel. I have done this 



fifty times — hundreds of times — in my little piggery in Angel 
Court in my day-dreams. I am in a dream now. Promise me not 
to let Professor Higgins wake me; for if he does I shall forget 
everything and talk, as I used to in Drury Lane. 

PICKERING. Not a word, Higgins. [To E/iia] Now, ready.^ 

LIZA. Ready. 


TAey mount the stairs^ Higgins last. Pickering whispers to the 
footman on the first landing. 

FIRST LANDING FOOTMAN. Miss Doolittle, Colonel Pickering, 
Professor Higgins. 

SECOND LANDING FOOTMAN. Miss Doolittle, Coloncl Picker- 
ing, Professor Higgins. 

At the top of the staircase the Ambassador and his wife^ with 
Ncpommuck at her elbow, are receiving. 

HOSTESS [taking Eliza's hand] How d'ye do.-^ 

HOST [same play] How d'ye do? How d'ye do, Pickering? 

LIZA [with a beautiful gravity that awes her hostess] How do 
you do? [She passes on to the drawingroom]. 

HOSTESS, Is that your adopted daughter, Colonel Pickering? 
She will make a sensation. 

PICKERING. Most kind of you to invite her for me. [He passes 

HOSTESS [to Ncpommuck] Find out all about her. 

NEPOMMUCK [bowing] Excellency — [he goes into the crowd]. 

HOST. How d'ye do, Higgins? You have a rival here tonight. 
He introduced himself as your pupil. Is he any good? 

HIGGINS. He can learn a language in a formight — knows 
dozens of them. A sure mark of a fool. As a phonetician, no good 

HOSTESS. How d'ye do, Professor? 

HIGGINS. How do you do? Fearful bore for you this sort of 
thing. Forgive my part in it. [He passes on]. 

In the drawingroom and its suite of salons the reception is in 
full swing. Eliza passes through. She is so intent on her ordeal 
that she walks like a somnambulist in a desert instead of a debu- 
p 261 


tante in a fashionable crowd. They stop talking to look at her, 
admiring her dress, her jewels, and her strangely attractive self. 
Some of the younger ones at the back stand on their chairs to see. 

The Host and Hostess come in from the staircase and mingle 
with their guests. Higgins, gloomy and contemptuous of the 
whole business, comes into the group where they are chatting. 

HOSTESS. Ah, here is Professor Higgins: he will tell us. Tell us 
all about the wonderful young lady, Professor. 

HIGGINS [a/most morosely\ What wonderful young lady.^ 

HOSTESS. You know very well. They tell me there has been 
nothing like her in London since people stood on their chairs to 
look at Mrs Langtry. 

Nepommuck joins the group, full of news. 

HOSTESS. Ah, here you are at last, Nepommuck. Have you 
found out all about the Doolittle lady.'^ 

NEPOMMUCK. I have found out all about her. She is a fraud. 

HOSTESS. A fraud! Oh no. 

NEPOMMUCK. YES, yes. She cannot deceive me. Her name 
cannot be Doolittle. 


NEPOMMUCK. Because Doolittle is an EngHsh name. And she is 
not English. 

HOSTESS. Oh, nonsense! She speaks English perfectly. 

NEPOMMUCK. Too perfectly. Can you shew me any English 
woman who speaks English as it should be spoken? Only 
foreigners who have been taught to speak it speak it well. 

HOSTESS. Certainly she terrified me by the way she said How 
d'ye do. I had a schoolmistress who talked like that; and I was 
mortally afraid of her. But if she is not English what is she.'' 

NEPOMMUCK. Hungarian. 

ALL THE REST. Hungarian! 

NEPOMMUCK. Hungarian. And of royal blood. I am Hungarian. 
My blood is royal. 

HIGGINS. Did you speak to her in Hungarian? 

NEPOMMUCK. I did. She was very clever. She said "Please 
speak to me in English: I do not understand French." French! 



She pretend not to know the difference between Hungarian and 
French. Impossible: she knows botli. 

HiGGiNS. And the blood royal? How did you find that out? 

NEPOMMUCK. Instinct, maestro, instinct. Only the Magyar 
races can produce that air of the divine right, those resolute eyes. 
She is a princess. 

HOST. What do you say, Professor? 

HIGGINS. I say an ordinary London girl out of the gutter and 
taught to speak by an expert. I place her in Drur}' Lane. 

NEPOMMUCK. Ha ha ha! Oh, maestro, maestro, you are mad on 
the subject of cockney dialects. The London gutter is the whole 
world for you. 

HIGGINS [to the Hostess] What does your Excellency say? 

HOSTESS. Oil, of course I agree with Nepommuck. She must be 
a princess at least. 

HOST. Not necessarily legitimate, of course. Morganatic per- 
haps. But diat is undoubtedly her class. 

HIGGINS. I stick to my opinion. 

HOSTESS. Oh, you are incorrigible. 

The group breaks up^ leaving Higgins isolated. Pickering joins 

PICKERING. Where is Eliza? We must keep an eye on her. 

Eli^a joins them. 

LIZA. I dont tliink I can bear much more. The people all stare 
so at me. An old lady has just told me that I speak exactly like 
Queen Victoria. I am sorry if I have lost your bet. I have done 
my best; but nothing can make me the same as these people. 

PICKERING. You have not lost it, my dear. You have won it 
ten times over. 

HIGGINS. Let us get out of this. I have had enough of chatter- 
ing to these fools. 

PICKERING. Eliza is tired; and I am hungry. Let us clear out 
and have supper somewhere. 



The Wimpole Street laboratory. Midnight. Nobody in the room. 
The clock on the mantelpiece strikes twelve. The fire is not alight: 
it is a summer night. 

Presently Higgins and Pickering are heard on the stjirs. 

HIGGINS [calling down to Pickering ] I say, Pick: lock up, will 
you? I shant be going out again. 

PICKERING. Right. Can Mrs Pearce go to bed? We dont want 
anything more, do we? 

HIGGINS. Lord, no! 

Eliia opens the door and is seen on the lighted landing in all the 
finery in which she has just won Higgins" s bet for him. She comes 
to the hearthy and switches on the electric lights there. She is tired: 
her pallor contrasts strongly with her dark eyes and hair; and her 
expression is almost tragic. She takes off her cloak; puts her fan 
and gloves on the piano; and sits down on the bench, brooding 
and silent. Higgins, in evening dress, with overcoat and hat, 
comes in, carrying a smoking jacket which he has picked up down- 
stairs. He takes off the hat and overcoat; throws them carelessly 
on the newspaper stand; disposes of his coat in the same way; 
puts on the smoking jacket; and throws himself wearily into the easy- 
chair at the hearth. Pickering, similarly attired, comes in. He also 
takes off his hat and overcoat, and is about to throw them on Higgins' s 
when he hesitates. 

PICKERING. I say: Mrs Pearce will row if we leave these things 
lying about in the drawing room. 

HIGGINS. Oh, chuck them over the bannisters into the hall. 
She'll find them tliere in die morning and put them away all 
right. She'll think we were drunk. 

PICKERING. "We are, slightly. Are there any letters? 

HIGGINS. I didnt look. [Pickering takes the overcoats and hats 
and goes downstairs. Higgins begins half singing half yawning an 
air from La Fanciulla del Golden West. Suddenly he stops and ex^ 
claims] I wonder where the devil my slippers are! 



EUia looks at him darkly; then rises suddenly and leaves the room. 

Higgins yawns again, and resumes his song. 

Pickering returns, with the contents of the letter-box in his hand. 

PICKERING. Only circulars, and this coroneted billet-doux for 
you. [He throws the circulars into the fender, and posts himself on 
the hearthrug, with his back to the grate]. 

HIGGINS [glancing at the billet-doux] Money-lender. [He 
throws the letter after the circulars]. 

Eli^a returns with a pair of large down-at-heel slippers. She places 
them on the carpet before Higgins, and sits as before without a word. 

HIGGINS [yawning again] Oh Lord! What an evening! What 
a crew! What a silly tomfoolery'! [He raises his shoe to unlace it, 
and catches sight of the slippers. He stops unlacing and looks at 
them as if they had appeared there of their own accord]. Oh! theyre 
there, are they? 

PICKERING [stretching himself] Well, I feel a bit tired. It's been 
a long day. The garden party, a dinner party, and the reception! 
Rather too much of a good thing. But youve won your bet, 
Higgins. Eliza did the trick, and something to spare, eh.^ 

HIGGINS [fervently] Thank God it's over! 

Eli{a flinches violently; but they take no notice of her; and she 
recovers herself and sits stonily as before. 

PICKERING. Were you nervous at the garden party .-^ / was. 
Eliza didnt seem a bit nervous. 

HIGGINS. Oh, she wasnt nervous. I knew she'd be all right. 
No: it's the strain of putting the job through all these mondis 
tliat has told on me. It was interesting enough at first, while we 
were at the phonetics; but after that I got deadly sick of it. If I 
hadnt backed myself to do it I should have chucked the whole 
thing up two months ago. It was a silly notion: the whole thing 
has been a bore. 

PICKERING. Oh come! the garden party was frightfully excit- 
ing. My heart began beating like anything. 

HIGGINS. Yes, for the first three minutes. But when I saw we 
were going to win hands down, I felt like a bear in a cage, hang- 
ing about doing nothing. The dinner was worse: sitting gorging 



there for over an hour, with nobody but a damned fool of a 
fashionable woman to talk to ! I tell you, Pickering, never again 
for me. No more artificial duchesses. The whole thing has been 
simple purgatory. 

PICKERING. Youve never been broken in properly to the social 
routine. [Strolling over to the piano] I rather enjoy dipping into 
it occasionally myself: it makes me feel young again. Anyhow, 
it was a great success: an immense success. I was quite frightened 
once or twice because Eliza was doing it so well. You see, lots 
of the real people cant do it at all: theyre such fools that they 
think style comes by nature to people in their position; and so 
they never learn. Theres always something professional about 
doing a thing superlatively well. 

HiGGiNS. Yes: thats what drives me mad: the silly people dont 
know their own silly business. [Rising] However, it's over and 
done with; and now I can go to bed at last without dreading to- 

Eliias beauty becomes murderous. 

PICKERING. I think I shall turn in too. Still, it's been a great 
occasion; a triumph for you. Goodnight. [He goes]. 

HIGGINS [following him] Goodnight. [Over his shoulder^ at the 
door] Put out the lights, Eliza; and tell Mrs Pearce not to make 
coffee for me in the morning: I'll take tea. [He goes out]. 

Eli^a tries to control herself and feel indifferent as she rises and 
walks across to the hearth to switch off the lights. By the time she 
gets there she is on the point of screaming. She sits down in Higgins's 
chair and holds on hard to the arms. Finally she gives way and flings 
herself furiously on the floor ^ raging. 

HIGGINS [m despairing wrath outside] What the devil have I 
done with my slippers? [He appears at the door]. 

LIZA [snatching up the slippers, and hurling them at him one 
after the other with all her force] There are your slippers. And 
there. Take your slippers; and may you never have a day's luck 
with them! 

HIGGINS [astounded] What on earth — ! [He comes to her], 
Whats the matter.'* Get up. [He pulls her up]. Anything wrong? 



LIZA [hreath/ess] Nothing wrong — with you. Ive won your 
bet for you, havnt I? Thats enough for you. / dont matter, I 

HiGGiNS. You won my bet! You! Presumptuous insect! /won 
it. What did you throw those shppers at me for? 

LIZA. Because I wanted to smash your face. I'd hke to kill you, 
you selfish brute. Why didnt you leave me where you picked 
me out of — in the gutter.'' You tliank God it's all over, and that 
now you can dirow me back again there, do you? [She crisps 
her fingers frantically]. 

HIGGINS [looking at her in cool wonder] The creature is ner- 
vous, after all. 

LIZA [gives a suffocated scream of fury, and instinctively darts 
her nails at his face] ! ! 

HIGGINS [catching her wrists] Ah! would you? Claws in, you 
cat. How dare you shew your temper to me? Sit down and be 
quiet. [He throws her roughly into the easy-chair], 

LIZA [crushed by superior strength and weight] "^Tiats to become 
of me? Whats to become of me? 

HIGGINS. How the devil do I know whats to become of you? 
Wliat does it matter what becomes of you? 

LIZA. You dont care. I know you dont care. You wouldnt care 
if I was dead. I'm nothing to you — not so much as them slippers. 

HIGGINS [thundering] Those slippers. 

LIZA [with bitter submission] Those slippers. I didnt diink it 
made any difference now. 

A pause. Eliia hopeless and crushed. Higgins a little uneasy. 

HIGGINS [in his loftiest manner] Why have you begun going 
on like this? May I ask whether you complain of your treatment 

LIZA. No. 

HIGGINS. Has anybody behaved badly to you? Colonel 
Pickering? Mrs Pearce? Any of tlie servants? 

LIZA. No. 

HIGGINS. I presume you dont pretend that / have treated you 



LIZA. No. 

HiGGiNS. I am glad to hear it. \^He moderates his tone]. Perhaps 
youre tired after tlie strain of the day. Will you have a glass of 
champagne? [He moves towards the door]. 

LIZA. No. [Recollecting her manners] Thank you. 

HIGGINS [good-humored again] This has been coming on you 
for some days. I suppose it was natural for you to be anxious 
about the garden party. But thats all over now. [He pats her 
kindly on the shoulder. She writhes]. Theres nothing more to 
worry about. 

LIZA. No. Nothing more for you to worry about. [She sud- 
denly rises and gets away from him by going to the piano benchy 
■where she sits and hides her face]. Oh God! I wish I was dead. 

HIGGINS [staring after her in sincere surprise] Why? In heaven's 
name, why? [Reasonably, going to her] Listen to me, Eliza. All 
this irritation is purely subjective. 

LIZA. I dont understand. I'm too ignorant. 

HIGGINS. It's only imagination. Low spirits and nothing else. 
Nobody's hurting you. Nothing's wrong. You go to bed like a 
good girl and sleep it off. Have a little cry and say your prayers; 
that will make you comfortable. 

LIZA. I heard your prayers. "Thank God it's all over!" 

HIGGINS [impatiently] Well, dont you thank God it's all over.'' 
Now you are free and can do what you like. 

LIZA [pulling herself together in desperation] What am I fit for? 
What have you left me fit for? Where am I to go? What am I to 
do? Whats to become of me? 

HIGGINS [enlightened, but not at all impressed] Oh, thats whats 
worrying you, is it? [He thrusts his hands into his pockets, and 
walks about in his usual manner, rattling the contents of his pockets, 
as if condescending to a trivial subject out of pure kindness]. I 
shouldnt bother about it if I were you. I should imagine you 
wont have much difficulty in settling yourself somewhere or 
other, though I hadnt quite realized that you were going away. 
[She looks quickly at him: he does not look at her, but examines the 
dessert stand on the piano and decides that he will eat an apple], 



You might marry, you know. [He bites a large piece out of the 
apple and munches it noisily]. You see, Eliza, all men are not con- 
firmed old bachelors like me and the Colonel. Most men are the 
marrying sort (poor devils!); and youre not bad-looking: it's 
quite a pleasure to look at you sometimes — not now, of course, 
because youre crying and looking as ugly as the very devil; but 
when youre all right and quite yourself, youre what I should call 
attractive. That is, to the people in die marrying line, you under- 
stand. You go to bed and have a good nice rest; and then get up 
and look at yourself in the glass; and you wont feel so cheap. 

Eliia again looks at him^ speechless, and does not stir. 

The look is quite lost on him: he eats his apple with a dreamy 
expression of happiness, as it is quite a good one. 

HIGGINS [a genial afterthought occurring to him] I daresay my 
mother could find some chap or od)er who would do very well. 

LIZA. We were above tliat at die comer of Tottenham Court 

HIGGINS [waking up] What do you mean? 

LIZA. I sold flowers, I didnt sell myself. Now youve made a 
lady of me I'm not fit to sell anything else. I wish youd left me 
where you found me. 

HIGGINS [slinging the core of the apple decisively into the grate] 
Tosh, Eliza. Dont you insult human relations by dragging all this 
cant about buying and selling into it. You neednt marry die fellow 
if you dont like him. 

LIZA. What else am I to do.'' 

HIGGINS. Oh, lots of diings. What about your old idea of a 
florist's shop? Pickering could set you up in one: he has lots of 
money. [Chuckling] He'll have to pay for all those togs you have 
been wearing today; and that, with the hire of the jewellery, will 
make a big hole in two hundred pounds. Why, six months ago 
you would have thought it the millennium to have a flower shop 
of your own. Come! youll be all right. I must clear off" to bed: 
I'm devilish sleepy. By the way, I came down for something: I 
forget -svhat it was. 

LIZA. Your slippers. 



HiGGiNS. Oh yes, of course. You shied them at me. [He picks 
them up^ and is going out when she rises and speaks to him]. 

LIZA. Before you go, sir — 

HIGGINS [dropping the slippers in his surprise at her calling him 
Sir] Eh? 

LIZA. Do my clothes belong to me or to Colonel Pickering? 

HIGGINS [coming back into the room as if her question were the 
very climax of unreason] What the devil use would they be to 

LIZA. He might want them for the next girl you pick up to ex- 
periment on. 

HIGGINS [shocked and hurt] Is that the way you feel towards us? 

LIZA, I dont want to hear anything more about that. All I want 
to know is whether anything belongs to me. My own clothes 
were burnt. 

HIGGINS. But what does it matter? Why need you start bother- 
ing about that in the middle of the night? 

LIZA. I want to know what I may take away with me. I dont 
want to be accused of stealing. 

HIGGINS [now deeply wounded] Stealing! You shouldnt have 
said that, Eliza. That shews a want of feeling. 

LIZA. I'm sorry. I'm only a common ignorant girl; and in my 
station I have to be careful. There cant be any feelings between 
the like of you and the like of me. Please will you tell me what 
belongs to me and what doesnt? 

HIGGINS [very sulky] You may take the whole damned house- 
ful if you like. Except the jewels. Theyre hired. Will that satisfy 
you? [He turns on his heel and is about to go in extreme dudgeon]. 

LIZA [drinking in his emotion like nectar, and nagging him to 
provoke a further supply] Stop, please. [She takes off her jewels]. 
Will you take these to your room and keep them safe? I dont 
want to run the risk of their being missing. 

HIGGINS [furious] Hand them over. [She puts them into his 
hands]. If these belonged to me instead of to the jeweller, I'd ram 
them down your ungrateful throat. [He perfunctorily thrusts them 
into his pockets , unconsciously decorating himself with the protrud- 



ing ends of the chains]. 

LIZA [taking a ring off] This ring isnt tlie jeweller's: it's the one 
you bought me in Brighton. I dont want it now. [Higgins dashes 
the ring violently into thejircp/ace, and turns on her so threateningly 
that she crouches over the piano with her hands over her face ^ and 
exclaims] Dont you hit me. 

HIGGINS. Hit you! You infamous creature, how dare you 
accuse me of sucli a thing.'' It is you who have hit me. You 
have wounded me to the heart. 

LIZA [thrilling with hidden joy] I'm glad. Ive got a Httle of my 
own back, anyhow. 

HIGGINS [with dignity, in his finest professional style] You have 
caused me to lose my temper: a thing that has hardly ever hap- 
pened to me before. I prefer to say nothing more tonight. I am 
going to bed. 

LIZA [pertly] Youd better leave a note for Mrs Pearce about the 
coffee; for she wont be told by me. 

HIGGINS [formally] Damn Mrs Pearce; and damn the coffee; 
and damn you; and [wildly] damn my own folly in having 
lavished my hard-earned knowledge and the treasure of my 
regard and intimacy on a heartless guttersnipe. [He goes out with 
impressive decorum, and spoils it by slamming the door savagely]. _ 

Eli^a goes down on her knees on the hearthrug to look for the ring. 
JVhen she finds it she considers for a moment what to do with it. 
Finally she flings it down on the dessert stand and goes upstairs in a 
tearing rage. 

The furniture of Eliza's room has been increased by a big 
wardrobe and a sumptuous dressing-table. She comes in and 
switches on the electric light. She goes to the wardrobe; opens it; 
and pulls out a walking dress, a hat, and a pair of shoes, which 
she throws on the bed. She takes off her evening dress and shoes; 
then takes a padded hanger from the wardrobe; adjusts it care- 
fully in the evening dress; and hangs it in the wardrobe, which 
she shuts with a slam. She puts on her walking shoes, her walking 
dress, and hat. She takes her wrist watch from the dressing-table 



and fastens it on. She pulls on her gloves; takes her vanity bag; 
and looks into it to see that her purse is there before hanging it on 
her wrist. She makes for the door. Every movement expresses 
her furious resolution. 

She takes a last look at herself in the glass. 

She suddenly puts out her tongue at herself; then leaves the 
room, switching off the electric light at the door. 

Meanwhile, in the street outside, Freddy Eynsford Hill, love- 
lorn, is gazing up at the second floor, in which one of the 
windows is still lighted. 

The light goes out. 

FREDDY. Goodnight, darling, darling, darling. 

EHia comes out, g't'^i'T-g the door a considerable bang behind her. 

LIZA. Whatever are you doing here? 

FREDDY. Nothing. I spend most of my nights here. It's the 
only place where I'm happy. Dont laugh at me. Miss Doolitde. 

LIZA. Dont you call me Miss Doolittle, do you hear? Liza's 
good enough for me. [She breaks down and grabs him by the 
shoulders'] Freddy: you dont think I'm a heartless guttersnipe, 
do you? 

FREDDY. Oh no, no, darling: how can you imagine such a 
thing? You are the loveliest, dearest — 

He loses all self-control and smothers her with kisses. She, hungry 
for comfort, responds. They stand there in one another's arms. 

An elderly police constable arrives. 

CONSTABLE [scandaliied] Now then! Now then!! Now then!!! 

They release one another hastily. 

FREDDY. Sorry, constable. Weve only just become engaged. 

They run away. 

The constable shakes his head, reflecting on his own court- 
ship and on the vanity of human hopes. He moves off in the 
opposite direction with slow professional steps. 

The flight of the lovers takes them to Cavendish Square. There 
they halt to consider their next move. 

LIZA {out ofbreath\ He didnt half give me a fright, that copper. 
But you answered him proper. 



FREDDY. I hope I havent taken you out of your way. W^iere 
were you going? 

LIZA. To tlie river. 

FREDDY. Wliat for.^ 

LIZA. To make a hole in it. 

FREDDY [horrified] EUza, darling. What do you mean? What's 
the matter? 

LIZA. Never mind. It doesnt matter now. There's nobody 
in the world now but you and me, is tliere? 

FREDDY. Not a soul. 

They indulge in another embrace, and are again surprised by a 
much younger constable. 

SECOND CONSTABLE. Now then, you two! What's this? Where 
do you tliink you are? Move along here, double quick. 

FREDDY. As you say, sir, double quick. 

They run away again, and are in Hanover Square before tliey 
stop for another conference. 

FREDDY. I had no idea tlie police were so devilishly prudish. 

LIZA. It's their business to hunt girls off the streets. 

FREDDY. We must go somewhere. We cant wander about the 
streets all night. 

LIZA. Cant we? I think it'd be lovely to wander about for ever. 

FREDDY. Oh, darling. 

They em.brace again^ oblivious of the arrival of a crawling taxi. 
It stops. 

TAXIMAN. Can I drive you and the lady anywhere, sir? 

They start asunder. 

LIZA. Oh, Freddy, a taxi. Tlie very thing. 

FREDDY. But, damn it, I've no money. 

LIZA. I have plenty. The Colonel thinks you should never 
go out witliout ten pounds in your pocket. Listen. We'll drive 
about all night; and in the morning I'll call on old Mrs Higgins 
and ask her what I ought to do. I'll tell you all about it in the 
cab. And the police wont touch us there. 

FREDDY. Righto! Ripping. [To the Taximan] Wimbledon 
Common. [They drive ojf\. 



Mrs Higginss drawing room. She is at her writing-table as 
before. The parlormaid comes in. 

THE PARLORMAID [at the door] Mr Henry, maam, is down- 
stairs with Colonel Pickering. 

MRS HiGGiNS. Well, sliew them up. 

THE PARLORMAID. Theyre using the telephone, maam. Tele- 
phoning to the police, I think. 


THE PARLORMAID [coming further in and lowering her voice] Mr 
Henr}' is in a state, maam. I thought I'd better tell you. 

MRS HIGGINS. If you had told me that Mr Henry was not in a 
state it would have been more surprising. Tell them to come up 
when theyve finished with die police. I suppose he's lost some- 

THE PARLORMAID. Yes, maam [going], 

MRS HIGGINS. Go upstairs and tell Miss Doolitde that Mr 
Henry and the Colonel are here. Ask her not to come down dl I 
send for her. 


Higgins bursts in . He is, as the parlormaid has said, in a state. 

HIGGINS. Look here, mother: heres a confounded thing ! 

MRS HIGGINS. Yes, dear. Good morning. [He checks his im- 
patience and kisses her, whilst the parlormaid goes out]. What is it.'^ 

HIGGINS. Eliza's bolted. 

MRS HIGGINS [calmly continuing her writing] You must have 
frightened her. 

HIGGINS. Frightened her! nonsense! She was left last night, as 
usual, to turn out the lights and all that; and instead of going to 
bed she changed her clothes and went right off: her bed wasnt 
slept in. She came in a cab for her diings before seven this morn- 
ing; and that fool Mrs Pearce let her have them without telling 
me a word about it. What am I to do.'' 

MRS HIGGINS. Do without, I'm afraid, Henry. The girl has a 



perfect right to leave if she chooses. 

HIGGINS [wandering distractedly across the room] But I cant find 
anything. I dont knowwhat appointments Ive got. I'm — [Picker- 
ing comes in. Airs Higgins puts down her pen and turns away from 
the writing-table], 

PICKERING [shaking hands] Good morning, Mrs Higgins. Has 
Henry told you? [He sits down on the ottoman]. 

HIGGINS. What does diat ass of an inspector say.'^ Have you 
offered a reward? 

MRS HIGGINS [rising in indignant amaiement] You dont mean 
to say you have set the police after Eliza. 

HIGGINS. Of course. What are the police for? What else could 
we do? [He sits in the Elizabethan chair]. 

PICKERING. The inspector made a lot of difficulties. I really 
diink he suspected us of some improper purpose. 

MRS HIGGINS. Well, of course he did. What right have you to 
go to the police and give the girl's name as if she were a diief, or 
a lost umbrella, or something? Really! [She sits down again^ 
deeply vexed]. 

HIGGINS. But we want to find her. 

PICKERING. We cant let her go like this, you know, Mrs 
Higgins. What were we to do? 

MRS HIGGINS. You have no more sense, either of you, than two 
children. Why — 

The parlormaid comes in and breaks off the conversation. 

THE PARLORMAID. Mr Henry: a gentleman wants to see you 
very particular. He's been sent on from Wimpole Street. 

HIGGINS. Oh, bother! I cant see anyone now. Who is it? 

THE PARLORMAID. A Mr Doolittle, sir. 

PICKERING. Doolittle! Do you mean the dustman? 

THE PARLORMAID. Dustman! Oh no, sir: a gentleman. 

HIGGINS [springing up excitedly] By George, Pick, it's some 
reladve of hers that she's gone to. Somebody we know nothing 
about. [To the parlormaid] Send him up, quick. 

THE PARLORMAID. Yes, sir. [She goes]. 

HIGGINS [eagerly^ going to his mother] Genteel relatives! now 



we shall hear something. [He sits down in the Chippendale 

MRS HiGGiNS. Do you know any of her people? 

PICKERING. Only her father: the fellow we told you about. 

THE PARLORMAID [announcing] Mr Doolittle. [She withdraws]. 

Doolittle enters. He is resplendently dressed as for a fashionable 
weddings and mighty in fact, be the bridegroom. A flower in his 
buttonhole, a darling silk hat, and patent leather shoes complete the 
effect. He is too concerned with the business he has come on to notice 
Mrs Higgins. He walks straight to Higgins, and accosts him with 
vehement reproach. 

DOOLITTLE [indicating his own person] See here ! Do you see 
this? You done this. 

HIGGINS. Done what, man? 

DOOLITTLE. This, I tell you. Look at it. Look at this hat. 
Look at this coat. 

PICKERING. Has Eliza been buying you clothes? 

DOOLITTLE. Eliza! not she. Why would she buy me clothes? 

MRS HIGGINS. Good moming, Mr Doolittle. Wont you sit 

DOOLITTLE [taken aback as he becomes conscious that he has fir- 
gotten his hostess] Asking your pardon, maam. [He approaches her 
and shakes her proffered hand]. Thank you. [He sits down on the 
ottoman, on Pickering's right], I am that full of what has happened 
to me that I cant think of anything else. 

HIGGINS. What the dickens has happened to you? 

DOOLITTLE. I shouldnt mind if it had only happened to me: 
anything might happen to anybody and nobody to blame but 
Providence, as you might say. But this is something that you 
done to me: yes, you, Enry Iggins. 

HIGGINS. Have you found Eliza? 

DOOLITTLE. Have you lost her? 


DOOLITTLE. You have all the luck, you have. I aint found her; 
but she'll find me quick enough now after what you done to 



MRS HIGGINS. But what has my son done to you, Mr Doolittle? 

DOOLITTLE. Done to me! Ruined me. Destroyed my happiness. 
Tied me up and delivered me into the hands of middle class 

HIGGINS [rising intolerantly and standing over DouUttle\ Youre 
raving. Youre dnmk. Youre mad. I gave you five pounds. After 
that I had t^'o conversations with you, at half-a-crown an hour. 
Ive never seen you since. 

DOOLITTLE. Oh! Drunk am I? Mad am I? Tell me this. Did 
you or did you not wTite a letter to an old blighter in America 
I that was giving five millions to found Moral Reform Societies all 
over the world, and tliat wanted you to invent a universal lan- 
guage for him."^ 

HIGGINS. What! Ezra D. Wannafeller! He's dead. [He sits 
down again carelessly]. 

DOOLITTLE- Yes: he's dead; and I'm done for. Now did you or 
did you not write a letter to him to say diat the most original 
1 moralist at present in England, to the best of your knowledge, 
"was Alfred Doolittle, a common dustman.'' 

HIGGINS. Oh, after your first visit I remember making some 
silly joke of the kind. 

DOOLITTLE- All! you may well call it a silly joke. It put the lid 
on me right enough. Just give him the chance he wanted to shew 
tliat Americans is not like us: that they reckonize and respect 
merit in every class of life, however humble. Them words is in 
his blooming will, in which, Henry Higgins, thanks to your silly 
^joking, he leaves me a share in his Pre-digested Cheese Trust 
worth three thousand a year on condition diat I lecture for his 
Wannafeller Moral Reform World League as often as they ask 
me up to six times a year. 

HIGGINS. The devil he does! Whew! [Brightening suddenly] 
Wliat a lark! 

PICKERING. A safe thing for you, Doolittle. They wont ask 
you twice. 

DOOLITTLE. It aint the lecturing I mind. I'll lecture them blue 
ill die face, I will, and not turn a hair. It's making a gentleman of 
o 277 


me that I object to. Who asked him to make a gentleman of me? 
I was happy. I was free. I touched pretty nigh everybody for 
money when I wanted it, same as I touched you, Enry Iggins. 
Now I am worrited; tied neck and heels; and everybody touches 
me for money. It's a fine thing for you, says my solicitor. Is it? 
^ys I. You mean it's a good thing for you, I sajrs. When I was 
a poor man and had a solicitor once when they found a pram in 
the dust cart, he got me off, and got shut of me and got me shut 
of him as quick as he could. Same with the doctors: used to shove 
me out of the hospital before I could hardly stand on my legs, 
and nothing to pay. Now they finds out that Fm not a healthy 
man and cant live unless they looks after me twice a day. In the 
house I'm not let do a hand's turn for myself: somebody else 
must do it and touch me for it. A year ago I hadnt a relative in 
the world except two or three that wouldnt speak to me. Now Ive 
fifty, and not a decent week's wages among the lot of them. I have 
to live for others and not for myself: thats middle class morality. 
You talk of losing Eliza. Dont you be anxious: I bet she's on my 
doorstep by diis: she that could support herself easy by selling 
flowers if I wasnt respectable. And the next one to touch me 
will be you, Enry Iggins. I'll have to learn to speak middle 
class language from you, instead of speaking proper English. 
Thats where youll come in; and I daresay thats what you done 
it for. 

MRS HiGGiNS. But, my dear Mr Doolittle, you need not suffer 
all this if you are really in earnest. Nobody can force you to 
accept this bequest. You can repudiate it. Isnt that so, Colonel 

PICKERING. I believe so. 

DOOLITTLE [softening his manner in deference to her sex] Thats 
/ the tragedy of it, maam. It's easy to say chuck it; but I havnt the 
nerve. Which of us has? We're all intimidated. Intimidated, 
maam: thats what we are. What is there for me if I chuck it but 
the workhouse in my old age? I have to dye my hair already to 
keep my job as a dustman. If I was one of the deserving poor, and 
had put by a bit, I could chuck it; but then why should I, acause 



the desen'ing poor might as well be millionaires for all the happi- 
ness tliey ever has. They dont know what happiness is. But I, as 
one of tlie undeserving poor, have nothing between me and the 
pauper's uniform but this here blasted three thousand a year that 
/ shoves me into the middle class. (Excuse tlie expression, maam; 
voud use it yourself if you had my provocation.) The\^e got you 
every way you turn: it's a choice between the Skilly of the work- 
house and the Char Bydis of the middle class; and I havnt the 
nerve for the workhouse. Intimidated: thats what I am. Broke. 
Bought up. Happier men than me will call for my dust, and touch 
me for their tip; and I'll look on helpless, and envy them. And 
thats what your son has brought me to. {He is overcome by 

MRS HiGGiNS. Well, I'm ver}'- glad youre not going to do any- 
diing foolish, Mr Doolittle. For this solves die problem of 
Eliza's future. You can provide for her now. 

DOOLITTLE [wit/i melancholy resignation] Yes, maam: I'm ex- 
pected to provide for everyone now, out of three thousand a year. 

HIGGINS [jumping up] Nonsense! he cant provide for her. He 
shant provide for her. She doesnt belong to him. I paid him 
five pounds for her. Doolittle: either youre an honest man or a 

DOOLITTLE [tolerantly] A little of both, Henry, like the rest of 
us: a little of both. 

HIGGINS. Well, you took diat money for the girl; and you have 
no right to take her as well. 

MRS HIGGINS. Henr>': dont be absurd. If you want to know 
where Eliza is, she is upstairs. 

HIGGINS [amaied] Upstairs!!! Then I shall jolly soon fetch her 
downstairs. [He makes resolutely for the door]. 

MRS HIGGINS [rising and following him] Be quiet, Henry. Sit 


MRS HIGGINS. Sit down, dear; and listen to me. 

HIGGINS Oh very well, very well, very well. [He throws him- 
self ungraciously on the ottoman, with his face towards the windows], 



But I think you might have told us this half an hour ago. 

MRS HiGGiNS. Eliza Came to me this morning. She told me of 
the brutal way you two treated her. 

HIGGINS [bounding up again] What! 

PICKERING [rising also] My dear Mrs Higgins, she's been telling 
you stories. We didnt treat her brutally. We hardly said a v/ord 
to her; and we parted on particularly good terms. [Turning on 
Higgins] Higgins: did you bully her after I went to bed? 

HIGGINS. Just the other way about. She threw my slippers in 
my face. She behaved in the most outrageous way. I never gave 
her the slightest provocation. The slippers came bang into my face 
the moment I entered the room — before I had uttered a word. 
And used perfectly awful language. 

PICKERING [astonished] But why? What did we do to her? 

MRS HIGGINS. I think I know pretty well what you did. The 
girl is naturally rather affectionate, I diink. Isnt she, Mr Dooiittle? 

DOOLiTTLE. Very tender-hearted, maam. Takes after me. 

MRS HIGGINS. Just SO. She had become attached to you both. 
^ She worked very hard for you, Henry. I dont think you quite 
realize what anything in the nature of brain work means to a girl 
of her class. Well, it seems that when the great day of trial came, 
and she did this wonderful thing for you without making a 
single mistake, you two sat there and never said a word to her, 
but talked together of how glad you were that it was all over and 
how you had been bored with the v/hole thing. And then you 
were surprised because she threw your slippers at you! /should 
have thrown the fire-irons at you. 

HIGGINS. We said nothing except that we were tired and 
wanted to go to bed. Did we, Pick? 

PICKERING [shrugging his shoulders] That was all. 

MRS HIGGINS [ironically] Quite sure? 

PICKERING. Absolutely. Really, that was all. 

MRS HIGGINS. You didnt thank her, or pet her, or admire her, 
I or tell her how splendid she'd been. 

HIGGINS [impatiently] But she knew all about that. We didnt 
make speeches to her, if thats what you mean. 



PICKERING [conscience stricken] Perhaps we were a little incon- 
siderate. Is she very angry? 

MRS HIGGINS [returning to her place at the writing-table] Well, 
I'm afraid she wont go back to Wimpole Street, especially now 
that Mr Doolittle is able to keep up the position you have tlirust 
on her; but she says she is quite willing to meet you on friendly 
terms and to let bygones be bygones. 

HIGGINS [furious] Is she, by George? Ho! 

MRS HIGGINS. If you promise to behave yourself, Henry, I'll 
ask her to come down. If not, go home; for you have taken up 
quite enough of my time. 

HIGGINS. Oh, all right. Very well. Pick: you behave yourself. 
Let us put on our best Sunday manners for this creature that we 
picked out of the mud, [He flings himself sulkily into the Eli^a- 
bcthan chair]. 

DOOLITTLE [remonstrating] Now, now, Enry Iggins! Have 
some consideration for my feelings as a middle class man. 

MRS HIGGINS. Remember your promise, Henry. [She presses 
the bell-button on the writing-table]. xMr Doolittle: will you be so 
good as to step out on the balcony for a moment. I dont want 
Eliza to have the shock of your news until she has made it up 
with these two gentlemen. Would you mind? 

DOOLITTLE. As you wish, lady. Anything to help Henry to 
keep her off my hands. [He disappears through the window]. 

The parlormaid answers the bell. Pickering sits down in Doo- 
little s place. 

MRS HIGGINS. Ask Miss Doolittle to come dowTi, please. 

THE PARLORMAID. Yes, maam. [She goes out]. 

MRS HIGGINS. Now, Henry: be good. 

HIGGINS. I am behaving myself perfectly. 

PICKERING. He is doing his best, Mrs Higgins. 

A pause. Higgins throws back his head; stretches out his legs; and 
begins to whistle. 

MRS HIGGINS. Henry, dearest, you dont look at all nice in that 

HIGGINS [pulling himself together] I was not tr>^ing to look nice, 




MRS HiGGiNS. It docsnt matter, dear. I only wanted to make 
you speak. 


MRS HIGGINS. Because you cant speak and whistle at the same 

Higgins groans. Another very trying pause. 

HIGGINS [springing up, out of patience^ Where the devil is that 
girl.'' Are we to wait here all day.-^ 

Eli^a enters, sunny, self-possessed, and giving a staggeringly con- 
vincing exhibition of ease of manner. She carries a little work-basket, 
and is very much at home, Pickering is too much taken aback to 

LIZA. How do you do, Professor Higgins.'^ Are you quite well? 

HIGGINS {choking^ Am I — [He can say no more]. 

LIZA. But of course you are: you are never ill. So glad to see 
you again, Colonel Pickering. [He rises hastily,- and they shake 
hands]. Quite chilly this morning, isnt it.-^ [She sits down on his 
left. He sits beside her]. 

HIGGINS. Dont you dare try this gam.e on me. I taught it to 
you; and it doesnt take me in. Get up and come home; and dont 
be a fool. 

Eli^a takes a piece of needlework from her basket, and begins to 
stitch at it, without taking the least notice of this outburst. 

MRS HIGGINS. Very nicely put, indeed, Henry. No woman 
could resist such an invitation. 

HIGGINS. You let her alone, mother. Let her speak for herself. 
You will jolly soon see whether she has an idea that I havnt put 
into her head or a word that I havnt put into her mouth. I tell you 
I have created this thing out of the squashed cabbage leaves of 
Covent Garden; and now she pretends to play die fine lady with 

MRS HIGGINS [placidly] Yes, dear; but youU sit down, wont 

Higgins sits down again, savagely. 

LIZA [to Pickering, taking no apparent notice of Higgins, and 



■working away deftly] Will you drop me altogether now that tlie 
experiment is over, Colonel Pickering? 

PICKERING. Oh dont. You mustnt think of it as an experiment. 
It shocks me, somehow. 

LIZA. Oh, I'm only a squashed cabbage leaf — 

PICKERING [impulsively'] No. 

LIZA [continuing quietly] — but I owe so much to you that I 
should be very unhappy if you forgot me. 

PICKERING. It's very kind of you to say so, Miss Doolittle. 

LIZA. It's not because you paid for my dresses. I know you are 
generous to ever\'body with money. But it was from you that I 
learnt really nice manners; and that is what makes one a lady, 
isnt it.-^ You see it was so very difficult for me with the example 
of Professor Higgins always before me. I was brought up to be 
just like him, unable to control myself, and using bad language 
on the slightest provocation. And I should never have known 
that ladies and gentlemen didnt behave like that if you hadnt 
been there. 

HIGGINS. Well!! 

PICKERING. Oh, thats only his way, you know. He doesnt 
mean it. 

LIZA. Oh, / didnt mean it either, when I was a flower girl. It 
was only my way. But you see I did it; and thats what makes the 
difference after all. 

PICKERING. No doubt. Still, he taught you to speak; and I 
couldnt have done that, you know. 

LIZA [trivially] Of course: that is his profession. 

HIGGINS. Damnation! 

LIZA [continuing] It was just like learning to dance in the 
fashionable way: there was nothing more than that in it. But do 
you know what began my real education.'' 


LIZA [stopping her work for a moment] Your calling me Miss 

^ Doolittle that day when I first came to Wimpole Street. That was 

the beginning of self-respect for me. [She resumes her stitching]. 

And there were a hundred little things you never noticed, he- 



cause they came naturally to you. Tilings about standing up and 
taking off your hat and opening doors — 

PICKERING. Oh, that was nothing. 

LIZA. Yes: things that shewed you thought and felt about me 
as if I were something better than a scullery-maid; though ot 
course I know you would have been just the same to a scullery- 
maid if she had been let into the drawing room. You never took 
off your boots in the dining room when I was there. 

PICKERING. You mustnt mind that. Higgins takes off his boots 
all over the place. 

LIZA. I know. I am not blaming him. It is his way, isnt it? But 
it made such a difference to me that you didnt do it. You see, 
really and truly, apart from the things anyone can pick up (the 
dressing and the proper way of speaking, and so on), the differ- 
ence between a lady and a flower girl is not how she behaves, but 
^ how she's treated. I shall always be a flower girl to Professor 
Higgins, because he always treats me as a flower girl, and always 
will; but I know I can be a lady to you, because you always treat 
me as a lady, and always will. 

MRS HIGGINS. Plcase dont grind your teeth, Henry. 

PICKERING. Well, this is really very nice of you, Miss Doo- 

LIZA. I should like you to call me Eliza, now, if you would. 

PICKERING. Thank you. Eliza, of course. 

LIZA. And I should like Professor Higgins to call me Miss 

HIGGINS. I'll see you damned first. 

MRS HIGGINS. Henry! Henry! 

PICKERING [laughing] Why dont you slang back at him? Doni 
stand it. It would do him a lot of good. 

LIZA. I cant. I could have done it once; but now I cant go back 
to it. You told me, you know, that when a child is brought to a 
foreign country, it picks up the language in a few weeks, and 
forgets its own. Well, I am a child in your country. I have for- 
gotten my own language, and can speak nothing but yours. 
Thats the real break-off with the comer of Tottenham Court 



Road. Leaving Wimpole Street finishes it. 

PICKERING [much aiarmeJ] Oh! but youre coming back, to 
Wimpole Street, arnt you? Youll forgive Higgins? 

HiGGiNS [rising] Forgive! Will she, by George! Let her go. 
Let her find out how she can get on without us. She will relapse 
into the gutter in tliree weeks without me at her elbow. 

Dooiude appears at the centre window. IVith a look of dignified 
reproach at Higgins, he comes slowly and silently to his daughter, 
who, with her back to the window, is unconscious of his approach. 

PICKERING. He's incorrigible, Eliza. You wont relapse, will 

LIZA. No: not now. Never again. I have learnt my lesson. I 
dont believe I could utter one of the old sounds if I tried. [Doo- 
little touches her on her left shoulder. She drops her work, losing her 
self-possession utterly at the spectacle of her father's splendor] 
A-a-a-a-a-ah-ow-ooh ! 

HIGGINS [with a crow of triumph] Aha! Just so. A-a-a-a- 
ahowooh! A-a-a-a-ahowooh ! A-a-a-a-ahowooh ! Victory! Vic- 
tory! [He throws himself on the divan, folding his arms, and 
spraddling arrogantly]. 

DOOLITTLE. Can you blame die girl? Dont look at me like that, 
Eliza. It aint my fault. Ive come into some money. 

LIZA. You must have touched a millionaire diis time, dad. 

DOOLITTLE- I have. But I'm dressed sometliing special today. 
I'm going to St George's, Hanover Square. Your stepmother is 
going to marry me. 

LIZA [angrily] Youre going to let yourself down to marry that 
' low common woman! 

PICKERING [quietly] He Ought to, Eliza. [To Doolittlc] Why has 
she changed her mind? 

DOOLITTLE [ja<i7y] Intimidated, Governor. Inumidated. Middle 
,/ class morality claims its victim. Wont you put on your hat, Liza, 
and come and see me turned ofif? 

LIZA. If the Colonel says I must, I — I'll [almost sobbing] I'll de- 
mean myself. And get insulted for my pains, like enough. 

DOOLITTLE- Dont be afraid: she never comes to words wiih 



anyone now, poor woman ! respectability has broke all the spirit 
out of her. 

PICKERING [squeezing Eliia s elbow gent/y] Be kind to them, 
Eliza. Make the best of it. 

LIZA [forcing a little smile for Aim through her vexation] Oh well, 
just to shew theres no ill feeling. I'll be back in a moment. [She 
goes out], 

DOOLITTLE [sitting down beside Pickering] I feel uncommon 
nervous about the ceremony, Colonel. I wish youd come and see 
me through it. 

PICKERING. But youve been through it before, man. You were 
married to Eliza's mother. 

DOOLITTLE. Who told you that, Colonel.'' 

PICKERING. Well, nobody told me. But I concluded — natur- 

DOOLITTLE. No: that aint the natural way, Colonel: it's only 
the middle class way. My way was always the undeserving way. 
But dont say nothing to Eliza. She dont know: I always had a 
delicacy about telling her. 

PICKERING. Quite right. We'll leave it so, if you dont mind. 

DOOLITTLE. And youU come to the church. Colonel, and put 
me through straight.'* 

PICKERING. With pleasure. As far as a bachelor can. 

MRS HiGGiNS. May I come, Mr Doolitde.^ I should be very 
sorry to miss your wedding. 

DOOLITTLE. I should indeed be honored by your condescen- 
sion, maam; and my poor old woman would take it as a tre- 
menjous compliment. She's been very low, thinking of the happy 
days that are no more. 

MRS HIGGINS [rising] I'll order the carriage and get ready. [The 
men rise, except Higgins]. I shant be more tlian fifteen minutes. 
[As she goes to the door Eliia comes in, hatted and buttoning her 
gloves]. I'm going to the church to see your father married, 
Eliza. You had better come in the brougham with me. Colonel 
Pickering can go on with the bridegroom. 

Mrs Higgins goes out. EUia comes to the middle of the room 



f-etM'een the centre window and the ottoman. Pickering joins her. 

DOOLITTLE. Bridegroom ! What a word ! It makes a man realize 
his position, somehow. \^He takes up his hat and goes towards the 

PICKERING. Before I go, EHza, do forgive Higgins and come 
back to us. 

LIZA. I dont think dad would allow me. Would you, dad? 

DOOLITTLE [sad but magnanimous] They played you oft' very 
cunning, Eliza, them two sportsmen. If it had been only one of 
them, you could have nailed him. But you see, there was two; 
and one of them chaperoned the other, as you might say. [To 
Pickering] It was artful of you, Colonel; but I bear no malice: I 
should have done the same myself. I been die victim of one 
woman after another all my life; and I dont grudge you two 
getting the better of Eliza. I shant interfere. It's dme for us to go, 
Colonel. So long, Henry. See you in St George's, Eliza. [He goes 

PICKERING [coaxing] Do Stay with us, Eliza. [He follows Doo^ 

Ell{a goes out on the balcony to avoid being alone with Higgins. 
He rises and Joins her there. She immediately comes back into the 
room and makes for the door; but he goes along the balcony quickly 
and gets his back to the door before she reaches it. 

HIGGINS. Well, Eliza, youve had a bit of your own back, as 
you call it. Have you had enough? and are you going to be 
reasonable? Or do you want any more? 

LIZA. You want me back only to pick up your slippers and put 
up with your tempers and fetch and carry for you. 

HIGGINS. I havnt said I wanted you back at all. 

LIZA. Oh, indeed. Then what are we talking about? 

HIGGINS. About you, not about me. If you come back I shall 
treat you just as I have always treated you. I cant cliange my 
nature; and I dont intend to change my manners. My manners 
are exacdy the same as Colonel Pickering's. 

LIZA. Thats not true. He treats a flower girl as if she was a 



HiGGiNS. And I treat a duchess as if she was a flower girl. 

LIZA. I see. [She turns away composedly, and sits on the ottoman.^ 
facing the window]. The same to everybody. 

HIGGINS. Just so. 

LIZA. Like father. 

HIGGINS [grinning, a little taken down] Without accepting the 
comparison at all points, Eliza, it's quite true that your father is 
not a snob, and that he will be quite at home in any station of 
life to which his eccentric destiny may call him. [Seriously] The 
great secret, Eliza, is not having bad manners or good manners 
or any other particular sort of manners, but having the same 
manner for all human souls: in short, behaving as if you were in 
Heaven, where there are no third-class carriages, and one soul is 
/ as good as another. 

LIZA. Amen. You are a born preacher. 

HIGGINS [irritated] The question is not whether I treat you 
rudely, but whetlier you ever heard me treat anyone else better. 

LIZA [with sudden sincerity] I dont care how you treat me. I 
dont mind your swearing at me, I shouldnt mind a black eye: Ive 
had one before this. But [standing up and facing him] I wont be 
passed over. 

HIGGINS. Then get out of my way; for I wont stop for you. 
You talk about me as if I were a motor bus. 

LIZA. So you are a motor bus: all bounce and go, and no con- 
sideration for anyone. But I can do without you: dont think I 

HIGGINS. I know you can. I told you you could. 

LIZA [wounded, getting away from him to the other side of the 
ottoman with her face to the hearth] I know you did, you brute. 
You wanted to get rid of me. 


LIZA. Thank you. [She sits down with dignity], 

HIGGINS. You never asked yourself, I suppose, whether /could 
do without you. 

LIZA [earnestly] Dont you try to get round me. YouU have to 
do without me. 



/ HiGGiNS [arrogant] I can do without anybody. I have my own 

souh my own spark of divine fire. But [with sue/Jen humi/iy] I 

/ shall miss you, Eliza. [He sits down near her on the ottoman]. I have 

learnt sometliing from your idiotic notions: I confess tiiat humbly 

; and gratefully. And I have grown accustomed to your voice and 

appearance. I like them, rather. 

LIZA. Well, you have both of them on your gramophone and 
in your book of photographs. When you feel lonely without me, 
you can turn the machine on. It's got no feelings to hurt 

HIGGINS. I cant turn your soul on. Leave me those feelings; 
and you can take away tlie voice and die face. They are not 

LIZA. Oh, you are a devil. You can twist the heart in a girl as 
easy as some could twist her arms to hurt lier. Mrs Pearce warned 
me. Time and again she has wanted to leave you; and you always 
got round her at the last minute. And you dont care a bit for her. 
And you dont care a bit for me. 

HIGGINS. I care for life, for humanit}'; and you are a part of it 
that has come my way and been built into my house. What more 
can you or anyone ask.-^ 

LIZA. I wont care for anybody that doesnt care for me. 

HIGGINS. Commercial principles, Eliza. Like [reproducing her 
Covent Garden pronunication with professional exactness] s'yollin 
voylets [selling violets], isnt it? 

LIZA. Dont sneer at me. It's mean to sneer at me. 

HIGGINS. I have never sneered in my life. Sneering doesnt be- 
come eitlier the human face or the human soul. I am expressing 
my righteous contempt for Commercialism, I dont and wont 
trade in affection. You call me a brute because you couldnt buy a 
claim on me by fetching my slippers and finding my spectacles. 
You were a fool: I think a woman fetching a man's slippers is a 
disgusting sight: did I ever fetch your slippers? I think a good 
deal more of you for throwing them in my face. No use slaving 
for me and then saying you want to be cared for: who cares for a 
slave? If you come back, come back for die sake of good fellow- 
/ ship; for youU get nothing else. Youve had a diousand times as 



much out of me as I have out of you; and if you dare to set up 
your little dog's tricks of fetching and carrying slippers against 
my creation of a Duchess Eliza, I'll slam the door in your silly 

LIZA. What did you do it for if you didnt care for me? 

HIGGINS [heartily] Why, because it was my job. 

LIZA. You never tliought of the trouble it would make for me. 

HIGGINS. Would the world ever have been made if its maker 
had been afraid of making trouble? Making life means making 
trouble. Theres only one way of escaping trouble; and thats 
killing things. Cowards, you notice, are always shrieking to have 
troublesome people killed. 

LIZA. I'm no preacher: I dont notice things like that. I notice 
that you dont notice me. 

HIGGINS [jumping up and walking about intolerantly] Eliza: 
youre an idiot. I waste the treasures of my Miltonic mind by 
spreading them before you. Once for all, understand that I go 
my way and do my work without caring twopence what happens 
to either of us. I am not intimidated, like your father and your 
stepmother. So you can come back or go to the devil: which you 

LIZA. What am I to come back for? 

HIGGINS [bouncing up on his knees on the ottoman and leaning 
over it to her] For the fun of it. Thats why I took you on. 

LIZA [with averted face] And you may throw me out tomorrow 
if I dont do everything you want me to? 

HIGGINS. Yes; and you may walk out tomorrow if I dont do 
everything you want me to. 

LIZA. And live with my stepmother? 

HIGGINS. Yes, or sell flowers. 

LIZA. Oh! if I only could go back to my flower basket! I 
should be independent of both you and father and all the world! 
-^'Why did you take my independence from me? Why did I give 
it up? I'm a slave now, for all my fine clothes. 

HIGGINS. Not a bit. I'll adopt you as my daughter and settle 
- money on you if you like. Or would you rather marry Pickering? 



LIZA [looking fiercely round at hini\ I wouldnt marry you if you 
^sked me; and youre nearer my age than what he is. 

HiGGiNS [^c?«fA] Than he is: not "than what he is." 

LIZA [losing her temper and rising^ I'll talk as I like. Youre not 
my teacher now. 

HIGGINS [reflectively^ I dont suppose Pickering would, tliough. 
He's as confirmed an old bachelor as I am. 

LIZA. Thats not what I want; and dont you think it. Ive always 
had chaps enough wanting me that way. Freddy Hill writes td 
me twice and three times a day, sheets and sheets. 

HIGGINS [disagreeably surprised] Damn his impudence! [He 
recoils and finds himself sitting on his heels\. 

LIZA. He has a right to if he likes, poor lad. And he does love 
I HIGGINS [getting off the ottoman] You have no right to en- 
courage him. 

LIZA. Every girl has a right to be loved. 

HIGGINS. What! By fools like that.^ 

LIZA. Freddy's not a fool. And if he's weak and poor and 
wants me, may be he'd make me happier than my betters tliat 
bully me and dont want me. 

HIGGINS. Can he make anything of you.'' Thats the point. 

LIZA. Perhaps I could make something of him. But I never 
thought of us making anytliing of one another; and you never 
think of anything else. I only want to be natural. 

HIGGINS. In short, you want me to be as infatuated about you 
as Freddy.'' Is that it.-* 

LIZA. No I dont. Thats not the sort of feeling I want from you. 
And dont you be too sure of yourself or of me. I could have been 
a bad girl if I'd liked. Ive seen more of some things than you, for 
all your learning. Girls like me can drag gentlemen down to 
/ make love to them easy enough. And they wish each other dead 
the next minute. 

HIGGINS. Of course they do. Then what in thunder are we 
quarrelling about? 

/ LIZA [muck troubled] I want a little kindness. I know I'm a 



common ignorant girl, and you a book-learned gentleman; but 
I'm not dirt under your feet. What I done [correcting herself] 
vhat I did was not for the dresses and the taxis: I did it because 
' we were pleasant together and I come — came — to care for you; 
not to want you to make love to me, and not forgetting the differ- 
ence between us, but more friendlv like. 

HiGCiNS. >^'cll, of course. Thats just how I foci. And how 
Pickering feels. Eliza: youre a fool. 

LIZA. Tliats not a proper answer to give me \she sinks on the 
chair at the writing-tahle in tears\. 

IMCGINS. It's all youl! get until you stop being a com.mon idiot. 
If youre going to be a lady, youll have to give up feeling neg- 
lected if die men you know dont spend half their time snivelling 
over you and the odier half giving you black eyes. If you cant 
y stand the coldness of my sort of life, and die strain of it, go back 
to the gutter. Work til youre more a brute dian a human being; 
and then cuddle and squabble and drink til you fall asleep. Oh, 
it's a fine life, the life of die gutter. It's real: it's warm: it's violent: 
you can feci it through the diickest skin: you can taste it and 
smell it widiout any training or any work. Not like Science and 
Literature and Classical Music and Philosophy and Art. You find 
me cold, unfeeling, selfish, dont you,** Very well: be off widi you 
to the sort of people you like. Marry some sentimental hog or 
other widi lots of money, and a diick pair of lips to kiss you with 
and a diick pair of boots to kick you with. If you cant appreciate 
what youve got, youd better get what you can appreciate. 

LIZA [desperate] Oh, you are a cruel tyrant. I cant talk to you: 
you turn even, thing against me: I'm always in the wrong. But 
you know ver>' well all die time that youre nothing but a bully. 
You know I cant go back to die gutter, as you call it, and that I 
have no real friends in die world but you and die Colonel. You 
know well I couldnt bear to live with a low common man after 
you two; and it's wicked and cruel of you to insult me by pre- 
tending I could. You diink I must go back to Wimpole Street 
because I have nowhere else to go but father's. But dont you 
be too sure diat you have me under your feet to be trampled on 



^ and talked down. I'll marry Freddy, I will, as soon as I'm able 
to support him. 

HiGGiNS [thunderstruck] Freddy!!! that young fool! That poor 
devil who couldnt get a job as an errand boy even if he had the 
guts to try for it! Woman: do you not understand that I have 
made you a consort for a king.'' 

LIZA. Freddy loves me: that makes him king enough for me. 
I I dont want him to work: he wasnt brought up to it as I was. I'll 
go and be a teacher. 

HIGGINS. Whatll you teach, in heaven's name,-* 

LIZA. What you taught me. I'll teach phonetics. 

HIGGINS. Ha! ha! ha! 

LIZA. I'll offer myself as an assistant to tliat hairyfaced 

HIGGINS [rising in a fury] What! That impostor! that humbug! 
that toadying ignoramus! Teach him my methods! my dis- 
coveries! You take one step in his direction and I'll wring yoiu" 
neck. [He lays hands on her]. Do you hear.'^ 

LIZA [defiantly non-resistant] Wring away. What do I care.'' I 
knew youd strike me some day. [He lets her go^ stamping with rage 
at having forgotten himself and recoils so hastily that he stumbles 
back into his seat on the ottoman]. Alia! Now I know how to deal 
with you. What a fool I was not to think of it before! You cant 
; take a-^^y the knowledge you gave me. You said I had a finer 
ear than you. And I can be civil and kind to people, which is 
more than you can. Aha! [Purposely dropping her aitches to 
annoy him] Thats done you, Enry Iggins, it az. Now I dont care 
that [snapping her fingers] for your bullying and your big talk. 
I'll advertize it in die papers that your duchess is only a flower 
girl that you taught, and that she'll teach anybody to be a duchess 
just the same in six months for a thousand guineas. Oh, when I 
think of myself crawling under your feet and being trampled on 
and called names, when all the time I had only to lift up my 
finger to be as good as you, I could just kick mj^elf. 

HIGGINS [wondering at her] You damned impudent slut, you! 
But it's better than snivelling; better than fetching slippers and 
H 293 


finding spectacles, isnt it? [Rising] By George, Eliza, I said I'd 
make a woman of you; and I have. I like you like this. 

LIZA. Yes: you turn round and make up to me now that I'm 
not afraid of you, and can do without you. 

HiGGiNS. Of course I do, you little fool. Five minutes ago you 
were like a millstone round my neck. Now youre a tower of 
strength: a consort battleship. You and I and Pickering will be 
three old bachelors together instead of only two men and a silly 


Mrs Higgins returns , dressed for the wedding. Eliia instantly be- 
comes cool and elegant. 

MRS HIGGINS. The carriage is waiting, Eliza. Are you ready.'' 

LIZA. Quite. Is the Professor coming.'' 

MRS HIGGINS. Certainly not. He cant behave himself in church. 
He makes remarks out loud all the time on the clergyman's pro- 

LIZA. Then I shall not see you again, Professor. Goodbye. 
[She goes to the door]. 

MRS HIGGINS [coming to Higgins] Goodbye, dear. 

HIGGINS. Goodbye, mother. [He is about to kiss her, when he 
recollects something]. Oh, by the way, Eliza, order a ham and a 
Stilton cheese, will you.'' And buy me a pair of reindeer gloves, 
number eights, and a tie to match that new suit of mine. You can 
choose the color. [His cheerful, careless, vigorous voice shews that 
he is incorrigible]. 

LIZA [disdainfully] Number eights are too small for you if you 
want them lined with lamb's wool. You have three new ties that 
you have forgotten in the drawer of your washstand. Colonel 
Pickering prefers double Gloucester to Stilton; and you dont 
notice the difference. I telephoned Mrs Pearce this morning not 
to forget the ham. What you are to do without me I cannot 
imagine. [She sweeps out]. 

MRS HIGGINS. I'm afraid youve spoilt that girl, Henry. I 
should be uneasy about you and her if she were less fond of 
Colonel Pickering. 

HIGGINS. Pickering! Nonsense: she's going to marry Freddy. 



Ha ha! Freddy! Freddy! ! Ha ha ha ha ha! ! ! ! ! [He roars with 
laughter as the play cnds\ 


The rest of the story need not be shewn in action, and indeed, 
would hardly need telling if our imaginations were not so en- 
feebled by their lazy dependence on the ready-mades and reach- 
me-downs of tlie ragshop in which Romance keeps its stock of 
"happy endings" to misfit all stories. Now, the history of Eliza 
Doolittle, diough called a romance because the transfiguration it 
records seems exceedingly improbable, is common enough. Such 
transfigurations have been achieved by hundreds of resolutely 
ambitious young women since Nell Gwynne set them die ex- 
ample by playing queens and fascinating kings in the theatre in 
which she began by selling oranges. Nevertheless, people in all 
directions have assumed, for no other reason than that she be- 
came the heroine of a romance, that she must have married the 
hero of it. This is unbearable, not only because her little drama, 
if acted on such a thoughtless assumption, must be spoiled, but 
because the true sequel is patent to anyone with a sense of human 
nature in general, and of feminine instinct in particular. 

Eliza, in telling Higgins she would not marry him if he asked 
her, was not coquetting: she was announcing a well-considered 
decision. When a bachelor interests, and dominates, and teaches, 
and becomes important to a spinster, as Higgins with Eliza, she 
always, if she has character enough to be capable of it, considers 
very seriously indeed whether she will play for becoming that 
bachelor's wife, especially if he is so litde interested in marriage 
that a determined and devoted woman might capture him if she 
set herself resolutely to do it. Her decision will depend a good 
deal on whether she is really free to choose; and that, again, will 
depend on her age and income. If she is at the end of her youth, 
and has no security for her livelihood, she will marry him because 
she must marry anybody who will pro\ide for her. But at Eliza's 
age a good-looking girl does not feel that pressure: she feels free 
to pick and choose. She is therefore guided by her instinct in the 
matter. Eliza's instinct tells her not to marry Higgins. It does not 



tell her to give him up. It is not in the slightest doubt as to his 
remaining one of the strongest personal interests in her life. It 
would be very sorely strained if there was another woman likely 
to supplant her with him. But as she feels sure of him on that last 
point, she has no doubt at all as to her course, and would not have 
any, even if the difference of twenty years in age, which seems so 
great to youth, did not exist between them. 

As our own instincts are not appealed to by her conclusion, let 
us see whether we cannot discover some reason in it. When Hig- 
gins excused his indifference to young women on the ground that 
they had an irresistible rival in his mother, he gave the clue to his 
inveterate old-bachelordom. The case is uncommon only to the 
extent that remarkable mothers are uncommon. If an imaginative 
boy has a sufficiently rich mother who has intelligence, personal 
grace, dignity of character without harshness, and a cultivated 
sense of die best art of her time to enable her to make her house 
beautiful, she sets a standard for him against which very few 
women can struggle, besides effecting for him a disengagement of 
his affections, his sense of beauty, and his idealism from his speci- 
fically sexual impulses. This makes him a standing puzzle to the 
huge number of uncultivated people who have been brought up 
in tasteless homes by commonplace or disagreeable parents, and 
to whom, consequently, literature, painting, sculpture, music, 
and affectionate personal relations come as modes of sex if they 
come at all. The word passion means nothing else to them; and 
that Higgins could have a passion for phonetics and idealize his 
mother instead of Eliza, would seem to them absurd and un- 
natural. Nevertheless, when we look round and see that hardly 
anyone is too ugly or disagreeable to find a wife or a husband if 
he or she wants one, whilst many old maids and bachelors are 
above the average in quality and culture, we cannot help suspect- 
ing that the disentanglement of sex from the associations with 
which it is so commonly confused, a disentanglement which per- 
sons of genius achieve by sheer intellectual analysis, is some- 
times produced or aided by parental fascination. 

Now, though Eliza was incapable of thus explaining to herself 



Higgins's formidable powers of resistance to the charm that pros- 
trated Freddy at the first glance, she was instinctively aware that 
she could never obtain a complete grip of him, or come between 
him and his mother (the first necessity of the married woman). 
To put it shortly, she knew diat for some mysterious reason he 
had not the makings of a married man in him, according to her 
conception of a husband as one to whom she would he his nearest 
and fondest and warmest interest. Even had there been no mother- 
rival, she would still have refused to accept an interest in herself 
tliat was secondary to philosophic interests. Had Mrs Higgins 
died, there would still have been Milton and die Universal Alpha- 
bet. Landor's remark diat to those who have the greatest power 
of loving, love is a secondary affair, would not have recom- 
mended Landor to Eliza. Put diat along with her resentment of 
Higgins's domineering superiority, and her mistrust of his coax- 
ing cleverness in getting round her and evading her wrath when 
he had gone too far with his impetuous bullying, and you will see 
that Eliza's instinct had good grounds for warning her not to 
marry her Pygmalion. 

And now, whom did Eliza marry.'' For if Higgins was a pre- 
destinate old bachelor, she was most certainly not a predestinate 
old maid. Well, diat can be told very shortly to those who 
Iiave not guessed it from the indications she has herself given 

Almost immediately after Eliza is stung into proclaiming her 
considered determination not to marry Higgins, she mentions the 
fact that young Mr Frederick Eynsford Hill is pouring out his 
love for her daily through die post. Now Freddy is young, prac- 
tically twenty years younger dian Higgins: he is a gentleman (or, 
as Eliza would qualify him, a toff), and speaks like one. He is 
nicely dressed, is treated by the Colonel as an equal, loves her un- 
affectedly, and is not her master, nor ever likely to dominate her 
in spite of his advantage of social standing. Eliza has no use for 
die foolish romantic tradition that all women love to be mastered, 
if not actually bullied and beaten. "When you go to women" says 
Nietzsche "take your whip with you." Sensible despots have 



never confined that precaution to women: they have taken their 
whips -uath them when they have deak with men, and been 
slavishly idealized by the men over whom they have flourished 
the whip much more than by women. No doubt there are slavish 
women as well as slavish men; and women, like men, admire 
those that are stronger than themselves. But to admire a strong 
person and to live under that strong person's thumb are two 
different things. The weak may not be admired and hero-wor- 
shipped; but they are by no means disliked or shunned; and they 
never seem to have the least difficulty in marrying people who 
are too good for them. They may fail in emergencies; but life is 
not one long emergency: it is mostly a string of situations for 
which no exceptional strength is needed, and with which even 
rather weak people can cope if they have a stronger partner to 
help them out. Accordingly, it is a truth everywhere in evidence 
that strong people, masculine or feminine, not only do not marry 
stronger people, but do not shew any preference for them in 
selecting their friends. When a lion meets another with a louder 
roar "the first lion thinks the last a bore." The man or woman 
who feels strong enough for two, seeks for every other quality in 
a partner than strength. 

The converse is also true. Weak people want to marry strong 
people who do not frighten them too much; and this often leads 
them to make the mistake we describe metaphorically as "biting 
off more than they can chew." They want too much for too little; 
and when the bargain is unreasonable beyond all bearing, the 
union becomes impossible: it ends in the weaker party being 
either discarded or borne as a cross, which is worse. People who 
are not only weak, but silly or obtuse as well, are often in these 

This being the state of human affairs, what is Eliza fairly sure 
to do when she is placed between Freddy and Higgins? Will she 
look forward to a lifetime of fetching Higgins's slippers or to a 
lifetime of Freddy fetching hers.^ There can be no doubt about 
the answer. Unless Freddy is biologically repulsive to her, and 
Higgins biologically attractive to a degree that overwhelms all 



her other instincts, she will, if she marries either of them, marry 

And that is just what EUza did. 

Complications ensued; but they were economic, not romantic. 
Freddy had no money and no occupation. His mother's jointure, 
a last relic of die opulence of Largelady Park, had enabled her to 
struggle along in Earlscourt with an air of gentility, but not to 
procure any serious secondary education for her children, much 
less give tlie boy a profession. A clerkship at thirty shillings a 
week was beneatli Freddy's dignity, and extremely distasteful to 
him besides. His prospects consisted of a hope diat if he kept up 
appearances somebody would do something for him. Tlie some- 
tiiing appeared vaguely to his imagination as a private secretary- 
ship or a sinecure of some sort. To his mother it perhaps ap- 
peared as a marriage to some lady of means who could not resist 
her boy's niceness. Fancy her feelings when he married a flower 
girl who had become disclassed under extraordinary circum- 
stances whicli were now notorious! 

It is true that Eliza's situadon did not seem wholly ineligible. 
Her father, though formerly a dustman, and now fantastically dis- 
classed, had become extremely popular in die smartest society by 
a social talent which triumphed over every prejudice and every 
disadvantage. Rejected by the middle class, wliich he loathed, he 
had shot up at once into die highest circles by his wit, his dust- 
manship (which he carried like a banner), and his Nietzschean 
transcendence of good and evil. At intimate ducal dinners he sat 
on the right hand of die Duchess; and in country houses jie 
smoked in die pantry and was made much of by the butler when 
he was not feeding in the dining room and being consulted by 
cabinet ministers. But he found it almost as hard to do all this on 
four thousand a year as Mrs Eynsford Hill to live in Earlscourt 
on an income so pidably smaller diat I have not die heart to dis- 
close its exact figure. He absolutely refused to add the last straw 
to his burden by contributing to Eliza's support. 

Thus Freddy and Eliza, now Mr and Mrs Eynsford Hill, would 
have spent a penniless honeymoon but for a wedding present of 



/^50o from the Colonel to Eliza. It lasted a long time because 
Freddy did not know how to spend money, never having had 
any to spend, and Eliza, socially trained by a pair of old bachelors, 
wore her clothes as long as they held together and looked pretty, 
without the least regard to their being many months out of 
fashion. Still, /^500 will not last two young people for ever; and 
they both knew, and Eliza felt as well, that they must shift for 
themselves in the end. She could quarter herself on Wimpole 
Street because it had come to be her home; but she was quite 
aware that she ought not to quarter Freddy there, and that it 
would not be good for his character if she did. 

Not that the Wimpole Street bachelors objected. When she 
consulted them, Higgins declined to be bothered about her hous- 
ing problem when that solution was so simple. Eliza's desire to 
have Freddy in die house with her seemed of no more importance 
than if she had wanted an extra piece of bedroom furniture. Pleas 
as to Freddy's character, and the moral obligation on him to earn 
his own living, were lost on Higgins. He denied that Freddy had 
any character, and declared that if he tried to do any useful work 
some competent person would have the trouble of undoing it; a 
procedure involving a net loss to the community, and great un- 
happiness to Freddy himself, who was obviously intended by 
Nature for such light work as amusing Eliza, which, Higgins de- 
clared, was a much more useful and honorable occupation than 
working in the city. When Eliza referred again to her project of 
teaching phonetics, Higgins abated not a jot of his violent op- 
position to it. He said she was not within ten years of being 
qualified to meddle with his pet subject; and as it was evident that 
the Colonel agreed with him, she felt she could not go against 
them in this grave matter, and that she had no right, without 
Higgins's consent, to exploit the knowledge he had given her; for 
his knowledge seemed to her as much his private property as his 
watch: Eliza was no communist. Besides, she was superstitiously 
devoted to them both, more entirely and frankly after her mar- 
riage than before it. 

It was the Colonel who finally solved the problem, which had 



cost him much perplexed cogitation. He one day asked Eliza, 
rather shyly, whether she had quite given up her notion of keep>- 
ing a flower shop. She replied tliat she had thought of it, but had 
put it out of her head, because the Colonel had said, that day at 
Mrs Higgins's, that it would never do. The Colonel confessed 
that when he said that, he had not quite recovered from the 
dazzling impression of the day before. They broke the matter to 
Higgins diat evening. Tlie sole comment vouchsafed by him 
very nearly led to a serious quarrel with Eliza. It was to die effect 
that she would have in Freddy an ideal errand boy. 

Freddy himself was next sounded on die subject. He said he 
Iiad been diinking of a shop himself; though it had presented 
itself to his pennilessness as a small place in which Eliza should 
sell tobacco at one counter whilst he sold newspapers at the op- 
posite one. But he agreed diat it would be extraordinarily jolly to 
go early every morning with Eliza to Covent Garden and buy 
flowers on the scene of their first meeting: a sentiment which 
earned him many kisses from his wife. He added that he had 
always been afraid to propose anything of die sort, because Clara 
would make an awful row about a step diat must damage her 
matrimonial chances, and his mother could not be expected to 
like it after clinging for so many yeai-s to that step of die social 
ladder on which retail trade is impossible. 

This difficulty was removed by an event highly unexpected by 
Freddy's mother. Clara, in the course of her incursions into 
those artistic circles which were the highest within her reach, 
discovered diat her conversational qualifications were expected to 
include a grounding in the novels of Mr H. G. Wells. She bor- 
rowed them in various directions so energetically that she swal- 
lowed them all within two months. The result was a conversion 
of a kind quite common today. A modem Acts of the Apostles 
would fill fifty whole Bibles if anyone were capable of writing it. 

Poor Clara, who appeared to Higgins and his mother as a dis- 
agreeable and ridiculous person, and to her own mother as in 
some inexplicable way a social failure, had never seen herself in 
either light; for, diough to some extent ridiculed and mimicked 



in West Kensington like everybody else there, she was accepted 
as a rational and normal — or shall we say inevitable? — sort of 
human being. At worst they called her The Pusher; but to them 
no more than to herself had it ever occurred that she was pushing 
the air, and pushing it in a wrong direction. Still, she was not 
happy. She was growing desperate. Her one asset, the fact that 
her mother was what the Epsom greengrocer called a carriage 
lady, had no exchange value, apparendy. It had prevented her 
from getting educated, because the only education she could 
have afforded was education with the Earlscourt greengrocer's 
daughter. It had led her to seek the society of her mother's class; 
and that class simply would not have her, because she was much 
poorer than the greengrocer, and, far from being able to afford a 
maid, could not afford even a housemaid, and had to scrape along 
at home with an illiberally treated general servant. Under such 
circumstances nothing could give her an air of being a genuine 
product of Largelady Park. And yet its tradition made her regard 
a marriage with anyone within her reach as an unbearable humilia- 
tion. Commercial people and professional people in a small way 
were odious to her. She ran after painters and novelists; but she 
did not charm them; and her bold attempts to pick up and prac- 
tise artistic and literary talk irritated them. She was, in short, an 
utter failure, an ignorant, incompetent, pretentious, unwelcome, 
penniless, useless little snob; and though she did not admit these 
disqualifications (for nobody ever faces unpleasant truths of this 
kind until the possibility of a way out dawns on them) she felt 
their effects too keenly to be satisfied with her position. 

Clara had a startling eyeopener when, on being suddenly 
wakened to enthusiasm by a girl of her own age who dazzled 
her and produced in her a gushing desire to take her for a model, 
and gain her friendship, she discovered that this exquisite appari- 
tion had graduated from the gutter in a few months time. It 
shook her so violently, that when Mr H. G. Wells lifted her on 
the point of his puissant pen, and placed her at the angle of view 
from which the life she was leading and the society to which 
she clung appeared in its true relation to real human needs and 



worthy social structure, he effected a conversion and a conviction 
of sin comparable to the most sensational feats of General Booth 
or Gypsy Smith. Clara's snobbery v,-ent bang. Life suddenly 
began to move with her. Without knowing how or why, she 
began to make friends and enemies. Some of the acquaintances to 
whom she had been a tedious or indifferent or ridiculous afflic- 
tion, dropped her: others became cordial. To her amazement she 
found that some "quite nice" people were saturated with Wells, 
and that this accessibilit}' to ideas was the secret of tlieir niceness. 
People she had thought deeply religious, and had tried to con- 
ciliate on that tack with disastrous results, suddenly took an 
interest in her, and revealed a hostility to conventional religion 
wliich she had never conceived possible except among the most 
desperate characters. They made her read Galsworthy; and Gals- 
worthy exposed the vanity of Largelady Park and finished her. 
It exasperated her to diink that the dungeon in which she had 
languished for so many unhappy years had been unlocked all 
tlie time, and that the impulses she had so carefully struggled 
with and stifled for tlie sake of keeping well with society, were 
precisely those by which alone she could have come into any 
sort of sincere human contact. In the radiance of these discoveries, 
and die tumult of their reaction, she made a fool of herself as 
freely and conspicuously as when she so rashly adopted Eliza's 
explerive in Mrs Higgins's drawing room; for the new-born 
Wellsian had to find her bearings almost as ridiculously as a 
baby; but nobody hates a baby for its ineptitudes, or thinks the 
worse of it for trying to eat tlie matches; and Clara lost no friends 
by her follies. They laughed at her to her face this time; and she 
had to defend herself and fight it out as best she could. 

When Freddy paid a visit to Eai scourt (which he never did 
when he could possibly help it) to make the desolating announce- 
ment that he and his Eliza were thinking of blackening the Large- 
lady scutcheon by opening a shop, he found the little household 
already convulsed by a prior announcement from Clara that she 
also was going to work in an old furniture shop in Dover Street, 
which had been started by a fellow Wellsian. This appointment 



Gara owed, after all, to her old social accomplishment of Push. 
She had made up her mind that, cost what it might, she would 
see Mr Wells in the flesh; and she had achieved her end at a 
garden party. She had better luck than so rash an enterprise 
deserved. Mr Wells came up to her expectations. Age had not 
withered him, nor could custom stale his infinite variety in half 
an hour. His pleasant neatness and compactness, his small hands 
»nd feet, his teeming ready brain, his unaffected accessibility, and 
a certain fine apprehensiveness which stamped him as susceptible 
from his topmost hair to his tipmost toe, proved irresistible. 
Clara talked of nothing else for weeks and weeks afterwards. 
And as she happened to talk to the lady of the furniture shop, 
and that lady also desired above all things to know Mr Wells 
and sell pretty things to him, she offered Clara a job on the chance 
of achieving that end through her. 

And so it came about that Eliza's luck held, and the expected 
opposition to the flower shop melted away. The shop is in the 
arcade of a railway station not very far from the Victoria and 
Albert Museum; and if you live in that neighborhood you may 
go there any day and buy a buttonhole from Eliza. 

Now here is a last opportunity for romance. Would you not 
like to be assured that the shop was an immense success, thanks 
to Eliza's charms and her early business experience in Covent 
Garden? Alas! the truth is the truth: die shop did not pay for a 
long time, simply because Eliza and her Freddy did not know how 
to keep it. True, Eliza had not to begin at the very beginning: 
she knew the names and prices of the cheaper flowers; and her 
elation was unbounded when she found that Freddy, like- all 
youths educated at cheap, pretentious, and thoroughly ineflicient 
schools, knew a litde Latin. It was very little, but enough to 
make him appear to her a Person or Bendey, and to put him at 
his ease with botanical nomenclature. Unfortunately he knew 
nothing else; and Eliza, though she could count money up to 
eighteen shillings or so, and had acquired a certain familiarity 
with the language of Milton from her struggles to qualify herself 
for winning Higgins's bet, could not write out a bill without 



utterly disgracing the establishment. Freddy's power of stating 
in Latin tliat Balbus built a wall and that Gaul was divided into 
three parts did not carry with it the slightest knowledge of 
accounts or business: Colonel Pickering had to explain to him 
what a cheque book and a bank account meant. And the pair v/ere 
by no means easily teachable. Freddy backed up Eliza in her 
obstinate refusal to believe that they could save money by engag- 
ing a bookkeeper with some knowledge of the bu iness. How, 
they argued, could you possibly save money by going to extra 
expense when you already could not make both ends meet.'' But 
the Colonel, after making the ends meet over and over again, at 
last gently insisted; and Eliza, humbled to die dust by having 
to beg from iiim so often, and stung by die uproarious derision 
of Higgins, to whom die notion of Freddy succeeding at any- 
thing was a joke that never palled, grasped die fact that busineao, 
like phonetics, has to be learned. 

On the piteous spectacle of die pair spending their evenings 
in shordiand schools and polytechnic classes, learning book- 
keeping and typewriting widi incipient junior clerks, male arxi 
female, from the elementary' schools, let me not dwell. There 
were even classes at the London School of Economics, and a 
humble personal appeal to die director of that institution to 
, recommend a course bearing on die flower business. He, being a 
humorist, explained to them the mediod of the celebrated 
Dickensian essay on Chinese Metaph}-sics by the gentleman who 
read an article on China and an article on Metaphysics and com- 
bined the information. He suggested diat they should combine 
the London School with Kew Gardens. Eliza, to whom the pro- 
cedure of the Dickensian gentleman seemed perfectly correct (as 
in fact it was) and not in the least funny (which was only her 
ignorance), took the ad\ice with entire gravity. But the effort 
that cost her the deepest humiliation was a request to Higgins, 
whose pet artistici fancy, next to Milton's verse, was caligraphy, 
and who himself wrote a most beautiful Italian hand, that he 
would teach her to write. He declared that she was congenitally 
incapable of forming a single letter worthy of die least of Milton's 



words; but she persisted; and again he suddenly threw himself into 
the task of teaching her with a combination of stormy intensity, 
concentrated patience, and occasional bursts of interesting dis- 
quisition on the beauty and nobiUty, the august mission and 
destiny, of human handwriting. Eliza ended by acquiring an 
extremely uncommercial script which was a positive extension 
of her personal beauty, and spending three times as much on 
stationery as anyone else because certain qualities and shapes of 
paper became indispensable to her. She could not even address 
an envelope in the usual way because it made the margins all 

Their commercial schooldays were a period of disgrace and 
despair for the young couple. They seemed to be learning nothing 
about flower shops. At last diey gave it up as hopeless, and shook 
the dust of the shorthand schools, and the polytechnics, and the 
London School of Economics from their feet for ever. Besides, 
the business was in some mysterious way beginning to take care 
of itself. They had somehow forgotten their objections to employ- 
ing other people. They came to the conclusion that their own 
way was the best, and that they had really a remarkable talent 
for business. The Colonel, who had been compelled for some 
years to keep a sufficient sum on current account at his bankers 
to make up their deficits, found that the provision was unnecessary: 
the young people were prospering. It is true that there v/as not 
quite fair play between them and their competitors in trade. Their 
week-ends in the country cost them nothing, and saved them the 
price of their Sunday dinners; for die motor car was the Colonel's; 
and he and Higgins paid the hotel bills. Mr F. Hill, florist and 
greengrocer (they soon discovered that there was money in 
asparagus; and asparagus led to other vegetables), had an air 
which stamped the business as classy; and in private life he was 
still Frederick Eynsford Hill, Esquire. Not that there was any 
swank about him: nobody but Eliza knew that he had been 
christened Frederick Challoner. Eliza herself swanked like any- 

That is all. That is how it has turned out. It is astonishing 



how much Eliza still manages to meddle in the housekeeping at 
Wimpole Street in spite of tlie shop and lier o-wn family. And it 
is notable that though she ne\er nags her husband, and frankly 
loves tlie Colonel as if she were his favorite daughter, she has 
never got out of the habit of nagging Higgins that was established 
on the fatal night when she won his bet for him. She snaps his 
head off on the faintest provocation, or on none. He no longer 
dares to tease her by assuming an abysmal inferiority of Freddy's 
mind to his own. He storms and bullies and derides; but she 
stands up to him so ruthlessly that the Colonel has to ask her 
from time to time to be kinder to Higgins; and it is the only 
request of his that brings a mulish expression into her face. 
Nothing but some emergency or calamity great enough to break 
down all likes and dislikes, and tlirow tliem both back on their 
common humanity — and may they be spared any such trial! — 
will ever alter this. She knows that Higgins does not need her, 
just as her father did not need her. The very scrupulousness with 
which he told her that day that he had become used to having 
her there, and dependent on her for all sorts of little services, 
and diat he should miss her if she went away (it would never 
have occurred to Freddy or the Colonel to say anything of the 
sort) deepens her inner certainty that she is "no more to him 
than them slippers"; yet she has a sense, too, that his indifference 
is deeper than the infatuation of commoner souls. She is immensely 
interested in him. She has even secret mischievous moments in 
which she uishes she could get him alone, on a desert island, 
away from all ties and ^^ith nobody else in the world to consider, 
and just drag him off his pedestal and see him making love like 
any common man. We all have private imaginations of that sort. 
But when it comes to business, to the life that she really leads as 
distinguished from the life of dreams and fancies, she likes Freddy 
and she likes the Colonel; and she does not like Higgins and 
Mr Doolittle. Galatea never does quite like Pygmalion: his i^ 
relation to her is too godlike to be altogether agreeable. 




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